NEMINGHA residents and self-confessed "grey nomads" Ian and Liz Coxhead purchased their Jayco caravan last year but never thought it would be sold off without their permission in an elaborate scam.
The couple received a phone call from Burwood police station last Saturday in which they were asked if they were the owners of the van and held the registration for it.
They were then told the caravan and registration had been advertised for sale without their permission and it had been sold for $18,000 to buyers in Sydney.
The buyers had already paid for the van and have been unable to get their money back.
Having paid almost three times that amount for the four-year-old van in Nambucca Heads last year, Mr and Mrs Coxhead had no intention of selling the van and are baffled as to how it was advertised in a Canberra newspaper and a trading post website without their consent.
Mr Coxhead said he wanted to warn local residents to be wary that scams can target residents in rural communities.
"It's a warning for anyone who thinks they're getting a bargain, that they're most likely not," he said.
"If it appears too good to be true then it usually is." Mr Coxhead said police were still trying to track down the scammers and investigate how the caravan and registration number was linked.
The couple purchased their van, unregistered in May last year, but the van's registration number was also displayed in the scammer's advertisements.
"It makes you wonder just how private your privacy is," Mr Coxhead said.
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson and the Department of Fair Trading also issued a warning to residents across the region yesterday.
"I think the clear message here is that any unsuspecting person can get dragged into a fraud situation without them knowing it,even as a third party to the scam.
"Obviously the take-home message his is check, check and triple check.
"If it feels wrong then ring fair trading and make sure you contact police as well."