A Texas man has a warning for online car sellers after he was duped out of tens of thousands of dollars in a scam that was so convincing even the bank and police thought it looked real.
David Harmon can only look back at cell phone pictures of his 1969 Camaro SS.
The classic beauty has turned into a costly lesson for Harmon.
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"That’s what happens when you trust people, I guess," he said in a FaceTime interview with NBC 5.
The Abilene man is sharing his story in hopes someone will recognize his car and learn from the scam that duped him in mid-November.
"Just be careful whenever somebody gives you a cashier’s check," he said. "It’s not as good as it used to be."
Harmon says he was selling the muscle car on a classic car website when a man claiming to live in Grand Prairie came forward, eager to buy.
"I actually wasn’t going to sell it and then he was telling me that his dad was getting ready to retire from Lockheed Martin and his dad really liked the vehicle and he wanted to surprise his dad and buy it for him. And then he offered what I was asking for so I said 'sure,'" Harmon said.
Harmon says he drove from Abilene to a fast food restaurant in nearby Clyde and waited for the buyer.
Harmon says the man told him he would be in Clyde by 5 p.m. because he and his wife were working.
But the buyer didn’t show up until that evening.
Harmon says the man handed him a cashier’s check for $54,000 so he handed over the keys and title to his car like he’s done with previous vehicle sales.
However, days later he got a notice from his bank.
"It said the $54,000 cashier’s check was fraudulent," Harmon said.
He called the sheriff’s office, police department and reported the car stolen.
A detective with the Clyde Police Department confirms the report was filed and that they are investigating the scam.
"The police officer out there in Clyde told me with the printers nowadays that this is starting to be a big problem," Harmon said. "They can make cashier’s checks look real because when he saw my check and the bank saw they thought it was real too, until they ran the number."
Although the two men reportedly met in a fast food restaurant, police say the restaurant’s cameras were not working.
Grand Prairie police are not involved in the investigation even though the alleged-scammer claimed he lived in Grand Prairie.
But GPPD tells NBC 5 the department has seen the same crime from time to time.
The loss has left Harmon feeling "irritated" but hopeful that Camaro will turn up.
To others, he says, beware.
"Just don’t let go of your property until the bank tells you it’s clear," said Harmon.
Go here for some tips from the Better Business Bureau, including one tip that advises you to always wait for a check or cashier’s check to clear before transferring over your property or car title. This can take days or weeks.