An Online Scam that Could Hurt Poor Credit Car Buyersby Steve Cypher on Sunday, November 18th, 2012
Car shoppers who have been rejected by a traditional lender for an auto loan have been known to get desperate which can lead to being taken in by online scammers.
At Auto Credit Express it’s easy for us to see how this can happen. That’s because we’ve spent the past two decades helping consumers with auto credit problems find dealers that can offer them an opportunity for auto loan approvals.
As a result, we’ve become familiar with the issues facing these bad credit shoppers that includes today’s subject, online scams.
Scammers impersonate Kelley Blue Book
Because consumers with car credit problems sometimes need transportation so desperately, they can sometimes easily be taken in by online fraudsters – something that we were reminded of late last year when Kelley Blue Book issued this announcement:
Kelley Blue Book www.kbb.com the leading provider of new car and used car information warns online car buyers of a scam using a fake Kelley Blue Book website. The scams look to solicit funds from buyers via an escrow-based, guaranteed buyer-protection program, which Kelley Blue Book does not offer. Kelley Blue Book has received a small but increasing number of inquiries over the last few months regarding the protection program. The FBI claims that every 90 minutes a complaint is filed and an auto shopper loses $1,000 every hour due to fraudulent websites and phony vehicle listings.
Kelley Blue Book warns that any escrow-based consumer-to-consumer service or Buyer & Seller Protection Program offered under its name is a scam. Car shoppers should be aware that imitation websites have a similar look-and-feel to the actual kbb.com and they should be cognizant of the domain name (URL) and email address (view the actual address, not the display name) provided by the seller. Car shoppers that encounter this type of offer from online sellers are strongly urged to report the seller to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
How the Scam Often Works:
1. Typically, a seller will list a car that they do not own on a reputable vehicle listings website. Emails from the seller often provide a story about a quick divorce or military deployment that requires fast liquidation of the vehicle at a low price and the inability to execute the sale in person.
2. The next phase of the scam includes the seller moving the transaction to a fraudulent website other than where the car was listed, making it easier to conduct a crime. The alternate site may include guarantees that are backed by reputable companies, promises for the return of funds should a vehicle not be delivered, and may look similar to Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com website by using logos and similar fonts and colors. The majority of these sites are often poorly written with multiple spelling errors.
3. The seller then instructs the potential buyer to wire a partial or full payment to a third-party, such as Kelley Blue Book and fax the seller proof of payment. By the time the buyer realizes what has happened, the money and the seller are long gone.
“Recently, criminals have added sophisticated technology to their scam by adding 800 numbers and offering live chat with potential buyers in an effort to ease their concerns about online car buying and detailed information on the fraudulent buyer protection programs,” said Shayne Brown, associate general counsel, Kelley Blue Book. “Kelley Blue Book is working diligently to have these sites removed from the Internet, but in the mean time, car shoppers should know that any type of online consumer escrow service backed by our company is a scam.”
The Bottom Line
Car buyers with real credit problems are typically lured into schemes like this by the promise of a great deal. But most of these traps can be avoided by keeping in mind the golden rule of car buying: if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
One good thing to keep in mind, though, is this: Auto Credit Express specializes in helping applicants that have experienced car credit difficulties find dealers for their best chances at auto loan approvals.
So if you’re ready to reestablish your credit, you can begin now by filling out our online auto loans application.