Locals Lured by Online Car Fraud

FBI issues heads-up to San Diego residents at risk of fraudulent online car sales

By Lauren Steussy
|  Thursday, Aug 25, 2011  |  Updated 8:54 AM PDT
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Locals Lured by Online Car Fraud

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About 75 San Diego residents were victims of online car sale scams between 2008 and 2010.

The FBI recently sent out a statement, urging San Diegans to take extra caution when buying cars online, as they’ve seen an increase in complaints of fraudulent sales.

Most of the complaints filed to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) come from buyers who were misled by seemingly sound protection claims.

“Criminals create an attractive deal by advertising vehicles for sale at prices below book value,” the FBI warning states.

The criminals usually say they will be moving, or are about to be deployed, and cannot meet in person to check out the car. Then, the criminal requests that buyers wire money and send a receipt.

Often the criminals attempt to use the names of reputable protection programs, like eBay Motors Vehicle Protection Plan.

On average, San Diego victims of online car fraud lost $4,800, according to the IC3. Forty-eight of the 75 complaints resulted in actual loss.

In the U.S., 14,000 people have been victimized or targeted by the demands of fraudulent car sales online. The FBI has noticed that recently, the criminals are using live chat features in e-mail correspondence and electronic invoices.

The FBI listed several warning signs for online car buyers on their website.

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