LAKE HIAWATHA, New Jersey - They checked and double-checked but still got conned, mainly by making a common mistake by trusting the email links from someone who most likely stole a soldier's ID.
He was born to ride, but a bum foot had Uber driver Jose Ortiz, reluctantly selling his Suzuki motorcycle.
"We needed the money. I can't drive, I can't make no money," Ortiz said.
He and his wife, Patty Preziosi, put the bike up for sale on Craigslist. They got an offer right away, a man claiming he's active duty military, even sending a copy of his Air Force ID.
"I thought I was doing this for one of our soldiers. One of our boys, don't ask me why patriotism kicked in and common sense went out the window," Ortiz said.
The email stated $6,267 was sent from the soldier, pending in PayPal. It wasn't just full asking price of the bike but money to cover shipping too. Then came the swindle.
"He asked me if I can cover the shipping, he said, as a sign of trust," Ortiz said. So he fronted $697, wiring the money to a Walmart in Oklahoma.
But after sending the nearly $700, the phony soldier and fake shipper went AWOL.
What tricked her was a fake email verification getting her to believe the buyers payment was sent to her PayPal account.
But a closer look, shows a minefield of red flags. First, it comes from an obscure address NOT a PayPal domain.
Next, in the body of the letter, it's rife with spelling and grammar mistakes, a big red flag.
"We got suckered plain and simple," Preziosi said.
The big takeaway, is to beware of name switcheroos, the soldier's name the scammers used didn't match the buyer's name. And don't click on emailed links. Instead, go directly to the real website on your own.
Lastly, never wire money. This couple implored to use Moneygram for a PayPal transaction.