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Protect yourself from online car-buying scams

Consumer Tips
Protect yourself from online car-buying scams

Looking for a car online? If you see an offer like this, don’t send any money to the “seller.”

When shopping online for a vehicle, be extremely cautious if the seller suggests using a third party to handle the transaction, BBB St. Louis warns.

Buyers are told to wire their money to an escrow/shipping company. Fake invoices, emails and websites are used, no vehicle is ever delivered, and the buyers have little chance of recouping their money. At least 17 of the sites claim to be in Springfield, Mo. None of the shippers are registered with the Missouri secretary of state. Similar websites have begun appearing in other cities, including Kansas City.

Cars, trucks, RVs, boats, personal watercraft and other items are being advertised at below-market, too-good-to-be-true prices. Various stories are used by the seller – such as the death of a spouse, divorce or military deployment – to explain why they are selling the vehicle.

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For more tips on scams, identity theft and fraud, visit our blog.