Hamilton County woman warns others about costly Craigslist scam
A Hamilton County woman looking to buy a car made a seven thousand dollar mistake.
A Hamilton County woman looking to buy a car made a $7,000 dollar mistake. When she saw a Ford Mustang advertised on Craigslist back in July, she wanted it.
She paid cash. The man gave her a Bill of Sale; with a warning, he still owed $2,000 on the car. That is where she made her mistake.
The victim was too embarrassed to reveal her identity, but wants others making deals online to hear her story, in hopes they don't make the same mistake.
A Craigslist search led a Chattanooga woman to a 2013 Mustang, and the man selling it. He didn't have the title because he still owed money on the car, but promised it would be taken care of.
The woman snapped a picture, had him sign a Bill of Sale, and thought it was a good deal. “Then it just went from bad to worse,” she said.
About a month later, an unexpected visitor showed up at her front door. “CarMax came and repossessed the car."
That's when she learned the man never paid off the $16,800 car loan.
Police identify the man as Antonio Vila. He is now nowhere to be found. Channel 3 attempted to reach Vila. He has multiple phone numbers and addresses listed.
The Chattanooga Police Department has now issued a warrant for his arrest. The woman we spoke with has this advice for others. “Be careful when buying stuff of Craigslist. Know what you are doing and who you are dealing with. Make sure you have the title in hand when you buy a car, so you won't get scammed like I did.”
Police say these scams are becoming more common. Their advice is simple: if the title is not available at the time of purchase, walk away.
If convicted of fraudulent transfer of a motor vehicle, a person could face 2 to 12 years in prison.