Better Business Bureau® (BBB) of the Upstate is issuing an alert today to warn online car shoppers that scammers are posing as phony escrow services in order to defraud consumers out of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately for consumers, scammers are using a fake company name located in Piedmont, SC, and luring consumers to purchase vehicles and RVs online. The vehicles are to be transported, but unfortunately, consumers from Oregon, Florida and Virginia have been left empty-handed after wiring money that the scammers made off with.Recent complaints to BBB show that escrow fraud scammers are taking increasingly sophisticated steps to instill a sense trust in their victims. Scammers, using the name “Walton Auto,” created a complete website, waltons-auto.com, which explained the escrow process in detail, required the buyer to register through the website, and even provided a transaction number and the supposed escrow officer’s contact info. BBB is currently working with Public Domain Registry to ensure the website is taken down.Buying a car online can be a way to get a great deal on your next vehicle. Follow these tips to ensure your purchase ends with a new set of wheels, not a scam:Beware of sellers who want to conclude a transaction as quickly as possible. Scammers want to get your money before you have time to think or have a professional examine the deal.Watch out for sellers who want you to wire money instead of use a check or credit card.Call the seller to establish phone contact. If he/she neglects details agreed to via e-mail or is unable to answer questions about their location, it is likely to be a scam.Make sure websites are secure and authenticated before you purchase an item online. Look for “https” before the web address and online seals that ensure your credit card and/or banking information is secure.Use only well-known escrow services. As mentioned above, some fake car dealer websites use escrow services controlled by scammers.If the price seems too good to be true, there’s probably something wrong. Be wary if the car’s price is significantly lower than what you’ve seen elsewhere.BBB encourages all consumers to research all businesses they plan on shopping with by visiting http://go.bbb.org/upstatesc and to follow BBB on Facebook at Better Business Bureau Upstate SC for news and tips about scams.-30-About BBB of the Upstate - Better Business Bureau® of the Upstate is a private, non-profit organization that serves the public interest by promoting ethical business practices. BBB’s mission is to be a leader in advancing marketplace trust in the 10 counties served which includes Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg and Union. BBB accomplishes this mission by creating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for marketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating marketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB is the preeminent resource to turn to for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities. For more information, call (864) 242-5052 or visit www.upstatesc.bbb.org.