Would you buy a used car from this scammer?
Thursday, August 18, 2011
In the old days, used car buyers wondered if the car they purchased would hold up over time. In the age of the Internet, used car buyers need to be on the lookout for a different kind of hold-up... one in which a distant thief steals their money in exchange for no car at all.
Thieves are using the names and logos of legitimate online websites to scam car buyers. Although the vehicles for sale are not actually listed on their sites, the scammers convince potential buyers that their purchase will be handled through sites like eBay and will be covered by payment assurance plans like eBay’s Vehicle Purchase Protection program. The scammers use emails and invoices that feature company logos to trick buyers into believing that the sale is legitimate. They also use phony messages that appear to be sent from other legitimate online entities, including payment service agencies like PayPal and Google Check-out.
The cars are priced very low and the sellers always have a convincing story ready to explain the bargain basement price. But when the buyer wires their money for the purchase, the scammers keep the cash and no vehicle is ever delivered. Most of these scammers are located in Romania. Legitimate websites whose businesses are being used or referenced in connection with this scam, including eBay, Craigslist, and AutoTrader, are working to alert potential car buyers.