Rodrigo Suárez – a fictitious name – arrived in the United States from the Dominican Republic only five months ago. His experience can be considered as positive. He chose to settle in Pennsylvania, where he found work in just two weeks. Thanks to some old friends, who welcomed him with love, he was able to rent a room at a reasonable price and save money in record time. The salary and conditions of his employment are acceptable. In short, he cannot complain.
Our protagonist has been thinking for several weeks about acquiring a vehicle with which to visit the nearest cities. He would love to walk the bridges of Harrisburg and get lost in the flash of the lights of the Susquehanna River. As he has already collected some savings, he decides to contact an online seller who offers him a pre-owned vehicle for as little as $1,500.
However, soon the negotiation becomes a bit strange. The vendor tells Rodrigo (always by email) that the vehicle is in Ohio, where she is serving in the armed forces.
“I go abroad in 10 days. The price is so low because I urgently need to find a buyer. Of course, the vehicle does not carry liens or loans. It was my husband’s, but he died 6 months ago,” the seller explains.
Rodrigo observes the photographs. He decides to asks the seller about the process to be followed, not without doubts.
“Do not worry,” the seller replies. “The purchase would be made by eBay. If you are interested, include in your next email your contact information (full name, shipping address and phone number associated with your eBay account), so that you can notify the company that has been selected as my buyer. In a few hours, they will contact you to explain the procedure to follow. In fact, you would get the shipping for vehicle completely free of charge, and you could try it for five days without any commitment.”
The rest of the story is not so nice. Rodrigo ends up being the victim of one of the most widespread scams throughout the country. This type of deceit includes many variants and affects the Latin migrant population since it does not know the system and has difficulties with the English language.
The U.S. government portal in Spanish offers a summary of the most common deceptions, which are unsolicited purchases, miraculous treatments, offers of medical plans, reduction or elimination of debts and immigration procedures. The deceptions in vehicle purchase processes and housing rents also stand out as two of the abusive practices with the greatest impact.
Dear reader, beware. Do not provide confidential data to strangers. Do not share privileged information over the Internet. Under no circumstances reveal your Social Security number. Finally, check the network if you have doubts about any purchase. You will be surprised at the amount of threads and discussions you will find because countless people have already been the victim of such deception. Avoid having your name added to the long list. •