Kelley Blue Book Warns of Fake KBB Sitesby Steve Cypher on Sunday, February 10th, 2013
Car shoppers who have been turned down by traditional lenders have been known to be taken in by online scams, some of which spoof reputable websites.
At Auto Credit Express we understand how this can happen – especially to buyers with questionable credit who have experienced problems applying for an auto loan. That’s because for the past two decades we’ve been helping these same kinds of poor credit buyers find those new car dealers that can offer them their best chances for car loan approvals.
Online KBB scam
We’ve also noticed that because people with credit issues sometimes need a car so badly, they can be taken in by online fraudsters. Often, these fraudsters will attempt to legitimize themselves by mimicking legitimate companies – something that we were reminded of a couple of years ago 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
The biggest reason buyers with both good and bad credit are lured into fraudulent online transactions is with the promise of a great deal. That being said, car buyers should always keep in mind the golden rule of avoiding these traps: if a deal looks too good to be true, chances are it probably is.
Another thing that car shoppers, especially those with damaged credit, should keep in mind: Auto Credit Express matches applicants that have experienced car credit issues with dealers that can offer them their best opportunities for approved car loans.
So if you’re ready to establish your auto credit, you can begin now by filling out our online car loans application.