The FBI issued a warning on August 23 to prospective car buyers looking online for a new ride. The bureau says more criminals are trying to sell vehicles that they do not own.
Much of the time the ad tells of needing to sell a vehicle fast, well below the blue-book value, because of an upcoming deployment or job transfer. After being contacted by interested buyers, the scam-artists try and rush the deal, asking that partial payment be made. They keep the payment and move on.
According to the press release, the crooks often make false claims that they are affiliated with eBay and that the sales are protected by liability insurance policies.
"Automotive shoppers should exercise due diligence before engaging in transactions to purchase vehicles advertised online," reads the warning.
The FBI gives specific examples of scams such as "sellers" wishing to move transactions from one website to another, and sellers who won't meet face to face.
"Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is."