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. These companies posed as legitimate escrow businesses in Montana.
Montana Truck Experts and Montana Truck Center, 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 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.”
To get more tips on avoiding scams visit www.bbb.org/avoidscams.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. BBB Northwest serves more than 14 million consumers in Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Western Wyoming.