FBI Warns of Online Car Sales Scam

Vehicle shoppers may want to use a bit more caution when looking to purchase a car online, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation warned today.

According to the FBI, a  new scam is on the rise that is targeting online vehicle shoppers. Officials reported consumers are being victimized by fraudulent vehicle sales and false claims of vehicle protection programs and that criminals are advertising attractive deals for vehicles they do not own.

“Often the sellers purport they need to sell the vehicle because they are moving for work, to include military deployments,” stated the FBI. “Because of the alleged pending move, criminals refuse to meet the victim in person or allow a vehicle inspection, and they often attempt to rush the sale.”

Criminals then instruct their targets to make payments via a wire transfer.

Officials explained a popular program used by these criminals includes eBay Motors' VPP. The VPP is not applicable to transactions that originate outside of eBay Motors, and it prohibits wire-transfer payments. Nevertheless, criminals often promise eBay Motors VPP coverage for non-eBay Motors purchases and instruct victims to pay via Western Union or MoneyGram, stated the FBI.

FBI officials warned shoppers to keep an eye out for sellers who want to move the transaction from one platform to another, who claim that a buyer protection program offered by a major Internet company covers an auto transaction conducted outside that company's site and who push for speedy completion of the transaction and request payments via quick wire transfer payment systems.   

They also warned of sellers who refuse to meet in person and who claim to have been transferred for work reasons, deployed by the military, or moved because of a family circumstance, and could not take the vehicle with them.

“Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is,” explained the FBI.

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