IC3 is warning consumers about scams that hijack trustworthy brands and vehicle protection programs like those offered by eBay Motors. Consumer complaints increased 25 percent in 2010, costing auto shoppers roughly $1,000 every hour, according to IC3.
For example, a seller on a site other than eBay may claim he offers eBay’s Vehicle Protection Program to gain a shopper’s trust and convince the shopper to wire him money for a vehicle he doesn’t own. However, only cars bought and sold on eBayMotors.com can legitimately offer up to $50,000 in vehicle protection. By exploiting the logo and name of reputable sites, fraudsters are luring consumers off of safe and secure e-commerce sites such as eBay.
The FBI’s IC3 and eBay Motors want to provide tips to savvy online auto shoppers looking to score a deal. The following are three tips from these experts:
1. Research And Inspect The Car.
Go beyond the information in the vehicle listing. Take advantage of vehicle history reports to be certain of mileage and vehicle condition. Review the title and hire an inspection service to look at the car prior to purchase.
2. Check The Person’s Background.
Examine the seller’s feedback, ratings and comments. Communicate directly with the seller by phone or through secure channels like the My eBay message center to ensure correspondence is authentic.
3. Never Send Payments Via Wire Services.
Never use Western Union, MoneyGram or other wire services—bank to bank transfers are okay. If you plan to pay in cash, do so in person and obtain a receipt.
Consumers who suspect fraud when auto shopping online should file a complaint with the FBI’s IC3 at www.ic3.gov and with eBay at email@example.com. Shoppers can visit ebay.com/tips for additional advice on safe shopping online.
Online auto shopping provides customers with the ability to find great deals on vehicles with the convenience of shopping on their schedule from an inventory far greater than what is found locally. By taking advantage of secure, trustworthy and reputable online marketplaces, consumers can help ensure they have safe and satisfying shopping experiences.