Thursday, October 20, 2011


You may be aware of incidents of fraud in the auto industry. Recently, the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center issued an alert about an increase in online scams that target consumers looking to buy vehicles online. In most instances of fraud, a consumer views a listing for a vehicle and contacts the seller through an email address in the ad. The seller responds via email telling the consumer that they need to sell the car quickly because they are in the military and about to be deployed, are moving, etc. Next, the seller asks the buyer to conduct the transaction through another website for security reasons, but reassures the buyer that they are protected through a major internet company (e.g. ebay). They are then instructed to wire funds to an account. Sometimes these criminals pose as employees and conduct a live chat to answer questions.

Unfortunately, the listing the consumer sees is either taken from another website or completely falsified, and the protection plan on the consumer's money transfer is phony. Once a consumer realizes what has happened it's too late.
Here are a few steps you can take:
  1. Forward any suspicious spam to
  2. If you feel you may have been victimized by a phishing scam, contact your local police immediately and further report the scam to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at 
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