RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Buyer beware, a Richmond woman is warning others to stay alert while purchasing items online.

8News spoke with Sarah Kelsey, who says she uses a scooter as her current method of transportation. She recently started her search for a car and ended up looking online.

“My credit is not the best so I can’t [buy from a dealership]. I don’t want to go the traditional auto dealership route,” said Kelsey.

Kelsey came across a 1999 Ford Mustang and for the perfect price — or so she thought.

“He kept, you know, assuring me it’s not a scam. I promise, like, here’s this information, here’s this. And yeah. And then as soon as I made the final payment, ‘Hey, I’m going to come pick it up’ and then everything was gone,” said Kelsey.

Kelsey says the seller requested nearly $1,700 to pay for the car and then never gave it to her.

“I like to always think that people have the best intentions. I trust right out the gate until I get burned,” said Kelsey. “And unfortunately, I got burned and I should have known better but it is what it is.”

Facebook wants its users to buy and sell safely and provided the following tips to do so:

  • Review the seller’s profile
  • Consider delivery options
  • Communicate on Facebook
  • Protect your privacy
  • Confirm fair pricing
  • Be wary of gift card scams
  • Verify the item before buying

“Those of us that don’t have great credit are in a place where we are out there to be kind of abused and picked up by these scammers or people who are predatory, because they know that they can get us,” said Kelsey. “And it’s unfortunate. That’s not something that’s going to go away anytime soon, you know, just the way it is.”

If you think you’ve seen a scam on Facebook Marketplace, you are encouraged to report it on their website.