LASD News

#FraudFriday-Car Scam


#FraudFriday-Car Scam

With new ways of buying a vehicle, new scams are circulating and thieves are searching for their next victim. 

The latest scam is selling vehicles that don’t belong to the seller!

How the scam works:
Scammers will post an online advertisement offering a “great deal” to catch the attention of a buyer, including pictures matching the description of the vehicle and contact information (phone number and an email address). 

When the buyer contacts the seller (thief) to obtain more information about the vehicle, the “seller” sends more pictures and provides an explanation for why the vehicle is being sold and indicates an urgency to sell. 

Some of the explanations given:
• Moving to a new location or being deployed.
• The vehicle was received as part of a divorce settlement.
• The vehicle belonged to a family member who recently passed away.

As the thief continues the scam with the potential buyer, the thief may offer a buyer-protection plan as commonly done by legitimate car sale lots. The thief will then send an email to the buyer (victim) with a toll-free telephone number that impersonates a financial institute. The fake representative will instruct the victim to purchase prepaid gift cards, in the amount of the sale, and ask for the prepaid codes. Once the scammer obtains the money, the buyer is told the vehicle will be delivered to them in a couple of days. 

After a few days, and no vehicle, the victim will attempt to contact the scammer. The scammer will not answer, respond, or return calls.

You (the victim) are left with no money and no vehicle. 

Ways to avoid being scammed:
• Always inspect a car in person before making a purchase.
• Avoid car listings that seem too good to be true.
• Think twice before sending money.
• Keep documentation throughout the purchase process.
Be vigilant with new scams popping up every day. Don’t be a thief’s next victim.