"...The FBI claims that every 90 minutes a complaint is filed and an auto shopper loses $1,000 every hour due to fraudulent websites and phony vehicle listings. Car shoppers that encounter this type of offer from online sellers are strongly urged to report the seller to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
How the Scam Often Works:
- Typically, a seller will list a car that they do not own on a reputable vehicle listings website. Emails from the seller often provide a story about a quick divorce or military deployment that requires fast liquidation of the vehicle at a low price and the inability to execute the sale in person.
- The next phase of the scam includes the seller moving the transaction to a fraudulent website other than where the car was listed, making it easier to conduct a crime. The alternate site may include guarantees that are backed by reputable companies, promises for the return of funds should a vehicle not be delivered, and may look similar to Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com website by using logos and similar fonts and colors. The majority of these sites are often poorly written with multiple spelling errors.
- The seller then instructs the potential buyer to wire a partial or full payment to a third-party, such as Kelley Blue Book and fax the seller proof of payment. By the time the buyer realizes what has happened, the money and the seller are long gone..."