Consumer Fraud Alert
Our office has seen an increase in online car sales scams. We have seen a trend of scammers stealing the business names of currently licensed Oklahoma used car dealers and creating websites portraying themselves as licensed dealers. The scammer will also produce a fraudulent used car dealer license to make themselves appear legitimate and produce a photo of a fraudulent Oklahoma Certificate of Title for the vehicle. Often, the scammers lure in out of state buyers, knowing they aren’t available to see the vehicle in person. They are asking for a wire transfer for the full price of the vehicle or a deposit, and they will disappear with the money.
Be vigilant about protecting yourself from online scams. Below are tips on how to spot a scam and general tips to avoid fraudulent used car deals.
How to spot a scam
1. Too good to be true?
If a price is amazing, an old car looks perfect, or a rare vehicle seems cheap, there’s a good chance it’s a scam.
2. Wire Transfer Scam
Wire transfer requests are a hallmark of many commonly used car scams. The point is the same to get their victims to submit a hard-to-trace payment without having received a vehicle. You can avoid this and most other scams by not paying for a car that you don’t have in your possession. Scammers will offer all kinds of reasons why they cannot deliver the vehicle or allow you to pick it up until they receive a wire transfer. Don't fall for it. In fact, there's no reason you should have to pay via wire transfer. In the first place, doing so makes it easier for scammers to take the money and run and harder for you to ever track them down or get your money back. Wire transfers are only for people you know and trust.
3. Check the photos
Some scammers use the same photo on different apps or websites, with different prices and contact information each time. You can avoid this scam with a “reverse image search” to see if the same photo appears in many places. Look up “reverse search” in your favorite search engine to learn how.
4. See the vehicle in person
There’s no substitute for seeing the real thing. Scammers can easily post fake photos and safety reports. Don’t send money until you’ve seen the vehicle in real life.
General Tips To Avoid Fraud
- Verify with our office that the used car dealer is a valid dealer, verify the license number, owner name, and business phone number. Call the dealer with the phone number that is listed with our office.
- Use common sense and listen to your gut, if something feels off or if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Deal with local dealers only, and never deal with a seller who refuses to meet in person.
- Research the seller, including their name, email address, and phone number.
- Research the car, including a Carfax report and trace on the NMVTIS database.
- Be leery of sellers who try to rush the sale.
- Never trust a seller who claims a vehicle is guaranteed by eBay Motors, PayPal, or any other online marketplace.
- Never pay in advance, and never send money through a bank-to-bank or wire service transaction.
If you believe you have been a victim of an internet used car scam, you may file a complaint with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center IC3 on their website: https://www.ic3.gov/ You may also file a fraud report with the Federal Trade Commission on their website: https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/
Also, please report the incident to our office by email: email@example.com or by phone at 405-521-3600.