BBB Warns About Online Car Scams

Feb 16, 2024 2 min read
BBB Warns About Online Car Scams

Keep your head on a swivel…

The scammers seem to never sleep, and that’s especially true when it comes to buying vehicles on the internet. Since a car is the second most expensive purchase most people will ever make, for those looking to separate you from a bunch of money quickly, it’s an area where many dishonest people work hard at swindling. The Better Business Bureau in Minnesota and North Dakota recently raised the alarm about some disturbing scams.

Learn more about the difference between a good deal and a scam here.

One involved a person who was going to pay $41,300 for a 1963 Chevy Impala from a dealer called Easy Classic Cars. According to the BBB, it was a “bogus” classic car dealer with an address in Minnesota. It advised the shopper to not send any money and instead look for a car through a legitimate dealer.

The BBB also created a business profile for Easy Classic Cars and put a warning on it for all to see. This is why we recommend checking a dealer’s BBB page before proceeding with a transaction. And the same goes for car transport services as well as auto shops.

Too often people believe any listing on Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Craigslist, etc. While those platforms might do some work to weed out scammers, you need to look at everything with a skeptical eye. That’s especially true if you find an unbelievable deal, something scammers do to get you excited and not thinking.

A clear red flag for a vehicle scam is when you’re told to pay a supposed independent third party, often called an escrow service, says the BBB. The problem is this is a way to get your money while the car is never sent.

As the BBB points out, a lot of scammers are creating websites for these escrow companies by using the name and address of real businesses. This is a way to lower your suspicion of a scam.

While sob stories about military deployment, death in the family, and other tragedies to explain the low price of a car is one red flag, the BBB points out others. A big one is the insistence you use an escrow and pay using a wire transfer instead of something more easily traced like a credit card or cashier’s check.

Ultimately, the more information you can find out about anyone selling you a vehicle online the better before you hand over any money.

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