The dangers of buying a used vehicle through a private party on a social media web page; a scam known as “curbstoning.”. – Los Banos Police Department

Today’s cautionary tale is about the dangers of buying a used vehicle through a private party on a social media web page; a scam known as “curbstoning.”

Read more about it here:…/det…/pubs/newsrel/newsrel14/2014_29

Last month, LBPD received a tip regarding 27-year-old Gibraham Ceja selling used cars on Craigslist. The tip included information that Gibraham had attempted to sell more than one used car over the past few months and that a local resident became suspicious and reported Gibraham to the Department after he became evasive about the quality and history of a used car he was selling.

Code Enforcement was assigned the tip. Sergeant Jesse Ceja (no relation to our suspect) and Code Enforcement Officer Brittany Rogers went to work. First, the duo learned more about Gibraham; they learned he did not possess a valid driver’s license and that, in 2014, he was issued citations by DMV Investigators for selling used cars illegally. Next, Sergeant Ceja drew upon his many years as a very successful undercover drug agent and, posing as an interested party, agreed to meet Gibraham to look at a car Gibraham had posted for sale.

Unbeknownst to Gibraham, Sergeant Ceja was watching him long before the two agreed to meet. Gibraham was seen driving to the location though he was unlicensed, and prior to the planned meeting, Gibraham was seen using a scanning device under the cars dash.

The investigation revealed that the suspect ran a business of selling used cars that did not belong to him while he was not licensed by DMV to do so.

“Using the scanning device before meeting us allowed the suspect to clear any of the vehicles trouble codes prior to meeting, just in case the buyer brought their own device. This is obviously an underhanded and deceptive scam to sell a car he knows is defective and unsafe.”
-Jesse Ceja, Police Sergeant

In the end, we learned that Gibraham was “curbstoning.” He was issued citations for selling a vehicle by someone other than a dealer or registered owner, selling used vehicles without a license and a Los Banos Municipal Code violation for operating without a business license. The Department was assisted in this investigation by DMV and charges are pending with the District Attorney’s office.

“For those of you out there attempting to defraud residents of Los Banos, you need to think twice. Our residents are on to your criminal behavior and we have a number of highly trained employee’s who love to work undercover; so you never know who you may be trying to scam.”
-Gary Brizzee, Chief of Police

It is also important to note that not all sales on social media are scams. Protect yourself by doing research on the seller, the vehicle and ask a lot of questions. If you feel uneasy about the transaction, do not give anyone your hard earned money. Walk away; there are plenty of other opportunities out there.¬if_t=notify_me_page

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