For Immediate Release - July 8, 2010 - Better Business Bureau is warning car shoppers to beware of websites offering too-good-to-be-true deals on repossessed cars. BBB has heard from people across the country who thought they were buying from a reputable dealer online but were actually sending money to scammers posing as legitimate, already-established community dealerships.
“Because scammers essentially steal the identity and good name of real auto dealers, car shoppers will think that they’re buying a car from a reputable business,” said David Weiss, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureaus Serving Greater Cleveland. “The truth is, they’re being sold a bill of goods by a coordinated, agile and in all likelihood overseas outfit of scammers.”
Most recently, one
The fraudulent website claimed to sell repossessed cars at prices well below market. Buyers were instructed to wire a deposit—as much as $5,000—to an individual rather than the company, which, according to the phony website, “helps us avoid taxes legally.” The balance was to be paid upon delivery at the consumer’s address within five days.
After paying the deposit, some victims called the real dealership to arrange delivery of their car. Some customers even showed up at the lot to pick up the cars they had “bought” on the bogus site.
When she didn’t get the promised information, she went online only to discover that the website she had used was gone. “My husband found something on the Internet about a scam down in
Similar websites have posed as many different dealers in
BBB recommends that car shoppers look for the following red flags when shopping for a car online:
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