Thanks to a joint effort between the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection and Better Business Bureau Northwest & Pacific, two fraudulent vehicle distribution websites have been taken down. According to multiple reports to BBB Scam Tracker, consumers across the nation lost over $12,000 from Montana Truck Experts and Montana Truck Center. This company with multiple websites posed as legitimate escrow businesses in Montana. Montana Truck Center, also known as Montana Truck Experts, claimed to be located in Billings, Bozeman, and Columbus. The business advertised items such as boats, excavators, and food trucks under retail value. They directed consumers to wire money to a third party financial institution escrow company until the consumer received the merchandise. Once the business received the money, they ceased contact with the customer and never delivered on the product. Eventually, the consumer learned they wired money into a personal bank account, not to a licensed escrow company. To take down the initial Montana Truck Experts website, the Montana Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection reached out to BBB Northwest & Pacific for help because its request to take down the website was denied. BBB Northwest & Pacific had the website removed thanks in part to assistance from BBB Arizona. The Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection successfully brought down the second website claiming to be the Montana Truck Center. "It's a small victory each time one of these deceiving websites are taken down," Tyler Andrew, BBB Northwest & Pacific CEO, said. "We are happy to have played a role in assisting in the Montana Attorney General's Office in protecting consumers and businesses from these types of schemes." “Unfortunately, criminals are getting more creative at stealing your hard-earned money. It’s important to properly research any purchase you make online,” said Montana Attorney General Tim Fox. “To avoid being burned by fraudulent websites, check the internet address URL to ensure your connection is secure, and never pay by bank wire transfer. Also, carefully read online reviews. If the website is fake, the online reviews will be too. Telltale signs include reviews that are all overwhelmingly positive, are posted within a short timeframe of other positive reviews, or multiple identical reviews.” Click here for BBB’s tips on online shopping. How to Avoid Escrow Fraud: Confirm if the company is licensed and bonded. A buyer should check that the escrow service and agent are licensed and bonded with the appropriate state agency (usually the state in which the escrow service is located) and avoid using an offshore escrow company. Those trying to sell their timeshare should also check with the timeshare’s resort to make sure the sale is legitimate. Be vigilant when transferring money. Legitimate escrow companies ask that buyers wire money from their bank account to the company’s bank. They will not ask for a person-to-person money transfer using Western Union or another third-party wire service. Consumers should work with their personal bank and the other financial institution to verify if they are transferring to commercial account instead of a personal account. Be cautious of too good to be true deals whether you're a buyer or seller. Companies may try to entice consumers with offers above market value or advertise luxury items under retail value. Remember, if it's too good to be true, it probably is. If you are the victim of a timeshare resale/escrow scam, BBB recommends reporting your experience to BBB and filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, Montana Attorney General’s Office and the FBI.