Online Car Sales

Many individuals use the internet for a variety of transactions. Although it may be an effective tool in locating potential buyers and sellers, the internet can also be a haven for fraudulent actors looking to make easy money at the expense of others. A current car scam illustrates the point.

How the Scam Works

The scam artist may claim that he/she is buying a vehicle on behalf of a client. Once a price is agreed on, the scam artist sends a personal or cashier’s check to the seller in excess of the purchase amount, requesting that the seller make payment directly to the supposed buyer, in the same amount as the excess payment. The fraudulent operator promises that once payment is received, a representative will pick up the vehicle. Since sellers are often in a hurry to finalize the vehicle’s sale, the seller will typically cash the check and make the payment to the scam artist before discovering that the check was fraudulent. Victims of such fraud can be bilked out of thousands of dollars. Furthermore, it can be difficult for law enforcement agencies to track down such perpetrators, leaving victims with little recourse or hope of recovering their money. Prevention is the best protection against such scams.

Tips to Avoid Internet Scams

Concerns About Counterfeit Check Payments or Other Internet Scams?

Contact the following agencies:

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Minneapolis Office

111 Washington Avenue South, Suite 1100
Minneapolis, MN 55401
763-569-8000
www.fbi.gov

Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20580
Toll free: 1-877-382-4357
www.consumer.ftc.gov

United States Secret Service
Minnesota Electronic Crimes Task Force

300 South Fourth Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 348-1800
www.secretservice.gov/ectf.shtml

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
FDIC Special Activities Section
550 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20429
877-275-3342
www.fdic.gov

Office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson
1400 Bremer Tower
445 Minnesota Street
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 296-3353
1-800-657-3787
TTY: (651) 297-7206
TTY: 1-800-366-4812

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