A mother of seven from Chicago’s South Side saved thousands of dollars buying a used car online thinking she had a good deal, but months later police showed up on her doorstep and said the car was thought to be stolen has been reported.
Now Latoya Maxwell makes a brave face for her children but said deep down that she is struggling.
“It’s tough, like we’re going through a rough time,” she said. “I don’t like to cry in front of my children.”
The mother of seven has now lost $ 3,500 and a car after saying she was scammed online.
“Well, it’s a lot of heartache because I don’t get that money from intrigue,” Maxwell said. “I work for my money. I work hard for my money. “
Maxwell told NBC 5 that she saved money to buy a used car for her family. She spent months researching and thinking she’d get a good deal after seeing an offer for a 2009 Blue Honda rider on an online marketplace.
After exchanging multiple emails with the seller in January, she headed from Chicago to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to pick up the car. Maxwell shared a photo she took of the seller, who also agreed to drive their car back to Chicago with his wife.
“We took them to the greyhound, paid their ticket home, gave them money, fed them,” she said.
Maxwell said she registered her car with the State Department in February, but came home to her house last month surrounded by police.
“At first I look like you got the wrong house,” she said. “I’m not a criminal. I am not getting in trouble. I have no criminal background. “
Investigators with the Illinois Statewide Auto Theft Task Force told her the car was reported stolen in South Dakota and her car was towed. More than frustrated, Maxwell has a message for people who she said they betrayed.
“There are actually people out here who work for their money and don’t sit on their bums and cheat to get money,” she said. “As if you weren’t just taking from me, you took my children.”
The Illinois Statewide Auto Theft Force was founded a year and a half ago. The task force, under the supervision of the Foreign Minister, has so far investigated more than 1,500 cases, which have led to 217 criminal charges. A spokesman said the NBC 5 Maxwell case is still under investigation.
In the meantime, the Better Business Bureau urges people to be careful about making large online purchases.
“The Better Business Bureau can assure you that online fraud reports, especially in an online marketplace, are one of our riskiest scams in the country. There isn’t a website that is 100% secure, ”said the President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois.
Bernas said consumers should look for deals that seem too good to be true, research the seller, use a credit card to shop online, and always do business with people who can be trusted.
“I never shop online,” said Maxwell. “I will never buy anything on the Internet again.”
Maxwell was unable to contact the seller by email or phone. She is about to file a report with the Sioux Falls Police Department.