CLEVELAND — You hear the phrase "lucky to be alive" a lot, but for a young woman from Lorain, it's true. However, she's also unlucky for what happened next. It's a story that has a memorable warning on many fronts.
"My car started feeling weird like I was shaking a little bit,” said Angel Blakely. March 27 was not a good night for her. “And my front driver tire flies off... in the middle of me driving…right down the highway."
The 22-year-old told us her broken-down car was then stuck. She was scared. She froze up. A nearby off-duty Cleveland Police Officer got her out of the car. And right after, a car slammed into the back of Blakely's car.
"I was thinking, man, if he wouldn't have gotten me out of that car in the time he did, I might not be able to sit in this interview today,” Blakely told us with tears in her eyes.
Unfortunately, the trouble was just starting for Blakely. After the crash, she found a new car on the site OfferUp.com. It was a 2009 Nissan Murano with 89,000 miles on it. Cost? Only $2,000.
“Here I am finding the car I've always wanted,” she told us.
The seller claimed she was a sergeant with the Air Force and didn't need the car. She sent lots of emails to Blakely, even saying the seller would pay to ship the car.
The seller gave Blakely a phone number supposedly to eBay. They told her to pay through eBay gift cards. "They asked for each number on each card,” said Blakely.
The seller asked for another thousand to pay for insurance for the car while it was being shipped. Still thinking it was a great deal anyway, Blakely made arrangements to pay…again.
"I was going to go that Sunday right after I got out of church,” she remembered.
But maybe it was divine intervention for the woman named Angel. She happened to find a different number for eBay. She called it. They told her she had been scammed.
"[The scammers] took all of my money,” Blakely said while crying. It was a devastating scam that left this Angel fallen. “I won't have anything to drive for a while because they took everything I had [that] I saved up.”
Blakely is a college student working two jobs and studying criminal justice of all things, and she's now out an important $2,000.
"And it was all gone,” she said, wiping the tears falling down her cheek.
The reason she's stepping forward? Blakely is playing a bit of a guardian angel for you.
"These people...hackers, scammers… they're real, like this information happens...this stuff happens daily," she told us.
Blakely said she checked the OfferUp site again after she was scammed, and that same car was back up there looking for its next victim.
It’s a very similar scam to the one we reported on two years ago. At that time, a woman from Akron thought she found the perfect RAV4 on Facebook Marketplace for $2,000. The supposed seller was in the military and told the victim to pay with eBay cards. The car wasn’t real.
Be careful. Do your homework. Don't pay for anything with gift cards.