Seller Beware: Car-Scammers are Looking for You

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office has received several reports of car scams in the area, and released a press release with details on what to look for and how to avoid similar pitfalls.

This particular scam starts when a person posts an ad on Cragslist, or other websites listing their vehicle for sale. The scammer, acting as a potential buyer, contacts the seller saying they're interested in purchasing the vehicle.

The stories and websites vary, but the buyer always states they want to make sure the vehicle isn’t a “lemon." Instead of inspecting the vehicle in person though, they'll ask the seller to provide a vehicle report by going to a website they suggest. They'll explain the vehicle report requested is generated by entering the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and that there’s a minimal cost, usually around $10-$20.

Once at the website, which is usually an unsecured website, the seller is promoted to enter their credit or debit card number before receiving the report. In these cases, once the seller enters their card number or other personal banking information, they receive a fabricated report or nothing at all. The scammers now have the victim’s personal banking information to fraudulently use and the fake buyer is never heard from again.

According to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office, the easiest way to not become a victim to scammers is to never give credit/debit card or personal banking information to anyone or any company that is unfamiliar and hasn't been researched. If a person is contacted and asked to provide credit/debit card or personal information, do not provide it without assurance.

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