Warnings about repossessed car dealer scams online

By Gray Hall - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A warning for people shopping for a new set of wheels, the Better Business Bureau says be careful when it comes to online deals for repossessed cars that are too good to be true. The BBB says this alert is a case of business identity theft.

The scammer uses the good name of a credible business to pull you in and while you think you're getting a car for a steal, crooks are actually taking you for thousands of dollars, taking you for a ride.

"Need and vulnerability makes common sense not work," said Tom Gallagher with the Richmond, BBB.

America Auto Sales in Memphis was hit hard by the fraudulent activity. The dealership, which is accredited by the BBB says recently they've gotten hundreds of calls from people who shopped at www.americautosales.com, a website the BBB says is not legit. The video we aired on NBC12 was from our sister station in Memphis WMC-TV.

Callers were fooled into believing they were on the trustworthy www.mephisautoworld.com. The fake website used the Memphis dealer's contact information. Buyers were instructed to wire as much as $5,000 to an individual rather than a company. Once they showed up to the car lot, they got the upsetting news -- it was all a lie.

"It is a sad thing when people call you and they've lost thousands of dollars and there is nothing you can do. It is a terrible thing," said Micah Guidry with America Auto Sales.

The Richmond BBB  says it could happen here. It's a case of business identity theft -- they say never wire money to anyone  -- and if you have questions, ask!

"Contact the car dealership if it is says Auto World in Memphis or if says Dominion Chevrolet or Royal Chevrolet, pick up the phone and call them, call the general manager or the sales manager and ask them if they are selling these cars," said Gallagher.

When we went back to the website to see if we could contact anyone -- it had been taken down. If you are in the market for a car -- before you give up your cash, the BBB says be clear where your money is going.

"You have to be sure there is a corporate line involved in this thing and that you can tell who that company is and that you know that it is a real business," Gallagher said.

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