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Online Car Sales: Don't Get Scammed

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

Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20580
(877) 382-4357

United States Secret Service
Minnesota Field Office
300 South Fourth Street, #750
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 348-1800

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Consumer Response Center
1100 Walnut Street Box #11
Kansas City, MO 64106
(877) 275-3342

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

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