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OPSO warns of vehicle sales scam

Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office
Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office

The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office has issued a warning to the public regarding a series of vehicle thefts linked to the use of Facebook Marketplace. According to their investigation, several individuals have fallen victim to a scam in which their vehicles are stolen after being listed for sale on the popular social media platform.

The perpetrators of the scam reportedly make contact with the victims immediately after the vehicles are posted for sale. They agree to pay the listed price and request that the payment be made to the victim’s auto financial loan. Subsequently, a wire transfer is initiated into the victim’s loan account. However, after a few days, the transfer is reversed due to insufficient funds. During this time, the suspects are able to pick up the vehicle, leaving the victims without their vehicle and still responsible for the payments on the loan.

Sheriff Jay Russell has strongly advised individuals selling their vehicles on social media platforms to verify with their bank that the funds being received are legitimate. He emphasized that in some cases, it may take up to seven days for the transfer to be completed and for the bank to receive a notification. Until the funds are securely in the seller's possession and confirmed by the bank, it is recommended that the seller maintain possession of the vehicle.

The Sheriff’s Office is urging anyone who may have fallen victim to this scam or has information regarding these incidents to come forward and assist with their ongoing investigation.

In light of these concerning developments, it is crucial for individuals engaging in online transactions, especially involving high-value items such as vehicles, to exercise caution and take necessary precautions to ensure their financial and physical security. The Sheriff’s Office will continue to work diligently to address these cases and prevent further instances of fraud and theft related to online marketplaces.