Man loses $82,000 in fraudulent car sale, BBB issues consumer warning

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INDIANAPOLIS (WXIN) — Used car prices are through the roof and thieves are taking advantage of consumers’ desires for vehicles. A man loses $82,000 after being the victim of a fraudulent deal.

“The scammers really know what’s going on in the world and adapt to it to try to lure people in,” said Jennifer Adamany, director of communications for the Better Business Bureau Serving Central Indiana. “So the fact that it’s hard to get a car right now and the price is so high, they see there’s a target market to try and offer a too good to be true deal for them. people.”

The BBB said a California man believed he was buying a vehicle from an Indiana dealership. He learned that the vehicle and dealership did not exist, but not before an $82,000 loss.

Adamany advises buyers to opt to view a vehicle in person before purchase, if possible.

“If you can, try not to buy a car without seeing it first and taking that test drive,” Adamany said. “If you can, call the seller or manager or see in person because if they avoid talking to you or can’t confirm their location or the actual location of the vehicle, those are red flags.”

The BBB said a few of the common tricks fraudsters are perpetuating right now are listing a vehicle online via sponsored advertising on social media. After starting to communicate with the customer, the person placing the ad will tell him that a loved one has died and he wants to get rid of the vehicle because it brings back bad memories, or another deal has failed and the car is ready to ship.

“If they try to ask for payment by bank transfer, even nowadays cryptocurrency, gift cards, that’s going to be a red flag because it’s really hard to get your money back with these types of purchases,” said said Adamany.

In each situation, the BBB said the fraudster assures the payer that the transaction will occur through a third-party buyer protection program.

“They will often try to guarantee it’s secure, but just keep in mind that transactions on sites like eBay, PayPal, Craig’s List warn that they can’t necessarily guarantee that people using their services are legit,” Adamany said.

The BBB said that once people pay, the bad actor usually stops answering calls, texts and emails.

The BBB sent out these tips to protect consumers from fraudulent online car sales:

  • Never transfer funds or make interbank transactions. Scammers love this kind of transaction because there is no way for you to get your money back once it is completed. Make legitimate purchases by check or credit card instead
  • Beware of offers that are too good to be true. They are most likely a scam. Scammers often steal consumers’ personal information and money by offering them high-value products at extremely discounted prices
  • Contact the seller by phone. At some point during your negotiations, speak with the sales manager on the phone. If they are unusually vague about certain details of the sale or cannot confirm their location or the location of the vehicle, it is most likely a scam.
  • See the car first. Never buy a car without doing an in-person inspection and test drive first
  • Don’t give in to the pressure. Scammers often try to pressure you into giving up your personal information or paying a deposit before you have time to think about buying. Take your time and think about a deal before agreeing to anything. If you have a bad feeling, listen to your instincts
  • Don’t trust a seller or buyer who claims the transaction is guaranteed by eBay, PayPal, Craigslist, or another online marketplace. These sites explicitly explain that they cannot guarantee that people using their services are legitimate.

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