Heartbroken grandmother was scammed off £10,000 on eBay

Heartbroken grandmother reveals how she thought she was buying her dream motorhome but was scammed out of £10,000 on eBay

  • NHS nurse Eileen Allen, from the Wirral, opened up about scam on This Morning
  • READ MORE: I almost fell for Facebook Marketplace scam four times in a week

A grandmother has revealed how ‘sophisticated’ scammers made her fork out £10,000 for a fake eBay listing, leaving her heartbroken. 

Eileen Allen, from the Wirral, revealed she was tricked into handing over £10,000 in two payments after spotting a fake advert for what she thought was a dream motorhome, priced at £27,500. 

Speaking to Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond on today’s programme, the grandmother-of-five, who has not received all of her money back, explained how the thieves used psychological tactics in order to bond with her and pressure her into handing over the money. 

Eileen, who wanted to treat her family to a motorhome holiday, revealed the seller, who posed as a 78-year-old widow, repeatedly came up with believable excuses not to meet in person.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Barclays said that they had urged Eileen not to make further payments before seeing the vehicle in person, but that she chose to send more money. 

Eileen Allen, from the Wirral, revealed she was tricked into handing over £10,000 in two payments after spotting a fake advert for what she thought was a dream motorhome on eBay

Eileen spotted the advert for the 2017 Elddis Evolution 196 motorhome on eBay, but her attempt to contact the seller via the website’s in-messaging system didn’t work. 

She then contacted the phone number the seller had provided, where she made them an offer of £26,000.

She said that the seller, who posed as a 78-year-old woman, told her she had a dealer who had made the same offer and had offered to pay of deposit. 

The scammer added she would rather sell it to a family like Eileen, and asked her for a deposit of £7,800 to secure the purchase. 

Eileen transferred the money and received an email of receipt from the seller, with plans to pick up the motorhome in Sheffield on April 30. 

However, the next day, the scammer called Eileen crying, telling her she had been scammed by ‘Gypsies’ before, and was scared that Eileen’s money was taking too long to transfer. 

She then offered to return Eileen’s money, saying she was too scared of not receiving the money by the time they had arrange for collection. 

Eileen transferred a further £2,200 to the scammer, and said she had been ‘upset’ to hear the woman cry on the phone. 

Pictured: the listing Eileen and Jacqueline both fell for, which scammed them out of thousands of pounds 

But the penny started to drop when the scammer called her to claim that she had not received the money for the second transfer, even though Eileen could see it had been debited from her account. 

This led the grandmother-of-five to contact her bank, Nationwide, where an employee confirmed the money was gone from her account, and asked her if the eBay seller seemed ‘genuine.’

Alarm bells began to rang in Eileen’s head, as she told the seller she knew it was a scam. 

From that moment on, she never heard back from the scammer. 

Eileen revealed on the show that she never realised she had been duped, because the woman had an answer for everything. 

She said that she asked to meet the woman to hand her the money in cash directly, but the scammer countered that she was too old to travel to a meeting point. 

Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond listened to the ‘devastating’ story and read a statement from eBay and Barclays

The scammer also convinced Eileen that she had a tracker on the motorhome and which insurance to pick.  

Eileen also revealed that a woman named Jacqueline Crawford, based in Northern Ireland, was scammed by the same criminal and at the same time as her, being scammed into hanging over nearly £13,000.

This Morning’s scam expert Jenny Radcliffe said: ‘You can see the tentacles of this. They were ready for everything. They’ve done this scam hundreds of times and practiced it dozens of times, now they know what to say.’

Jenny also said that the scammers had used ‘reverse psychology,’

‘It’s trying to say “oh, I’m worried about being scammed” – why would they say that if they are a scammer? And also, introducing all this emotion into the situation. The crying, the people checking that Eileen’s genuine… All of that adds credibility to [the scammer].

Jenny added that police could get involved, but that it would depend on the chasibility of the chase. 

She also gave her tips on how to avoid being scammed.  

‘First of all, research that listing, research how long it’s been on there, if it’s listed anywhere were else,’ she said. 

‘Do what is called a Reserve Search on a search engine from the image. You can cut and paste an image into a search engine and it will show you if it’s been used anywhere else,; she added. 

‘With motor vehicles you can check history. There are lots of sites for history checks for cars and motor vehicle. For £10, £15 pounds, you might be able to find some detail of that.

She also advised to look up the eBay seller and to check for their ratings, feedback ands sells history.  

‘If it’s too good to be true, stop, don’t react in the moment, hold back, talk to a few people,’ she said. 

She also advised not to move away from the app, meaning to keep all the communication and necessary exchanges on the app to protect yourself from scams. 

A spokesperson for eBay said in a statement read out by Alison Hammond on the show: ‘We strongly recommend that anyone buying a vehicle off eBay view it in person before transferring any money. In the very rare incident that one of our users is a victim of a scam, we advise them to report it immediately to the local police force, Action Fraud and eBay.

‘In this case, we can confirm we have taken action against the seller,’ the statement said. 

In another statement, Barclays said: ‘We have every sympathy with your customer who has been the victim of an online purchase scam. 

‘We explained the payment would be cancelled and urged them not to proceed with further payments unless the vehicle had been viewed in person. Regrettably, our customer did not heed the advice given and chose to proceed to making another payment the same day.’

Jenny claimed that eBay was aware that the listing she fell for was a scam, because the real owner of the van, who later got in touch with Eileen and Jacqueline, had reported it as fraudulent and had asked the platform to take it down.

She said eBay needed to take more responsibility for the listing still being up.  

People watching at home shared their own stories of being confronted with scam artists.  

‘Husband once received a cheap tacky bracelet from China instead of what he had ordered. So personally I would never trust Ebay,’ one said. 

‘I was scammed on eBay about 15 yrs ago, a guy was selling what turned out to be non-existent electrical items. He wrote to everyone after he was found guilty saying he did it because he was depressed and thought it would help to scam a load of money out of people,’ another said. 

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