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CBS 2 Uncovers Used Car Scam On Craigslist

YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- As the online market place Craigslist grows in popularity, so do the number of scammers cheating would-be customers.

On Monday, CBS 2's John Slattery told you of victims in Irvington, N.J. On Tuesday he unearthed more victims -- this time in Yonkers.

Laurianne Pisano was getting a generous gift from her boy friend -- a quality used car.

"I was very happy, excited, couldn't wait to get it," Pisano said.

It was a 2004 Nissan Maxima valued as some $10,000. Her boyfriend, Joe Ciruzzi, was getting it at a third of the price.

But he was scammed.

"I feel horrible. I feel violated," Ciruzzi said.

Ciruzzi found the car on Craigslist from a seller in Las Vegas who was willing to ship it for a little more than $3,600.

"He told me he was using eBay Buyer Protection Program," Ciruzzi said.

In fact, e-mails from the seller offered a link for that program, but it turned out to be a fraud.

"He had created an eBay page and e-mailed it to me," Ciruzzi said, adding that the page looked authentic. "Yeah, 100 percent, eBay in every corner."

Payment was specified to an eBay Motors agent who would collect the money. Ciruzzi went to a Western Union office and dropped off the cash. In Las Vegas, the recipient picked it up.

"I never heard from him again. No e-mail. His phone number was disconnected the day after," Ciruzzi said.

Capt. Robert Itzla of the Yonkers Police Department said there was no way he'd ever buy a car this way.

Yonkers detectives have their tech unit on the case. And Craigslist is now posting this warning on how to spot a vehicle scam when:

* Shipping a vehicle is suggested by the seller

* eBay Motors is specified by seller.

* Payment by Western Union or a money wire is requested

* The price is unusually low.

Ciruzzi said he was blinded by the incredible deal, but the car turned out to be nothing more than a picture.

The New York State Consumer Protection Division advises against using money transfers, and says eBay doesn't guarantee Craigslist, in part, because they're competitors.

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