TAKING ACTION: Fackler man arrested after conducting alleged eBay scams; tips to keep you safe

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SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WHNT)--  Dennis Lee Burton, Junior, 41, of Fackler is in jail in Jackson County, Scottsboro Police said Wednesday.

Burton is accused of stealing money from people through an eBay scam.

Police say within the past few months, they've received several complaints from out-of-state victims about him.

He's charged with theft by deception after police say the victims bought vehicles online from him through eBay, with PayPal down payments and wiring the rest of the money to his Scottsboro bank account. Police say Burton never actually gave the buyers the vehicle they were promised.

He's being held on $20,000 bond. Investigators say they expect more charges as more victims come forward.

So how do you stay safe from scams on eBay and CraigsList? WHNT News 19 is Taking Action to help you get up to speed on how to avoid losing your money.

Elizabeth Garcia of the BBB of North Alabama left us these tips for making large purchases like vehicles at online marketplaces:

  • Try to view the product before you buy it. Garcia asks you to keep in mind scammers can steal photos or pretend to have the items available, when they really aren't.
  • Ask for any certifications or VIN numbers for verification, and to check the vehicle's history.
  • Stick with established online marketplaces with safeguards for consumers. When you leave those websites, often those safeguards don't apply.
  • Do not wire money to someone directly from your account. Garcia says it's better to use credit cards, because wiring money means "that money is gone and you have very little likelihood of recouping the money lost if your transaction goes wrong." With a credit card, you have more likelihood of being able to stop the payment and getting your money back.
  • Do not give sellers personal information they can use to steal your identity.
  • Ask a lot of questions. Check to see if their answers match the description of the product.

The Madison Police Department offers its location as a safe meeting place for anyone looking to meet up for a purchase. The office is open 24/7 and monitored, said Captain John Stringer, and the parking lot is available, too.