Here's a warning from Consumer Affairs.com below, telling the tale of a lucky car buyer who almost gave up thousands of dollars for an internet car purchase that she probably never would have seen at all!
I continue to be amazed by the internet sale of used vehicles. I've seen bad deals involving $10,000 Chevy's and $70,000 + Porsche's and everything in between. If a car dealer will rip you off when you are standing right in front of them, looking them in the eye, what makes you think they will think twice about it when it's all done over the internet?
You can find more reports about internet car sale fraud and learn what to do about it at this site and running a few searches on key words.
Read this article and take note of the tips and clues that led this buyer out of the trap that she was almost caught in ... courtesy of ConsumerAffairs.Com:
August 17, 2005 A growing number of con artists are using online car sales sites, like AutoTrader and Ebay, to bilk unsuspecting consumers out of thousands of dollars. By being alert, consumers can avoid this trap.
Deborah, of Galt, California negotiated the purchase of a car on Autotrader.com. The deal was moving smoothly toward conclusion, she says, until the seller suddenly directed her to send the money to a company called HoldMyCar.com. That’s when Deborah decided to do a little research. She went to HoldMyCar’s Web site. It said the company was located in Camarillo, California and was a member of the Camarillo Chamber of Commerce. They certainly looked legitimate. But then she started digging a little deeper. “This website not only has a false address, it contains many false statements. It instructed me to wire money to an individual’s account, not a business account,” she told ConsumerAffairs.Com. “I also discovered that not only were they not a member of the Camarillo California Chamber of Commerce, but the address listed on the Web site was indeed the Chamber’s address!” Deborah contacted the Camarillo Chamber of Commerce and was told the organization was aware that scammers had appropriated their address. Local police had been notified, she was told. Deborah never completed the transaction and never sent any funds to the bogus holding company. By staying alert, she avoided becoming a victim.
Holdmycar.com was registered earlier this year through an Australian Internet registrar, the CyberFrontier Registry of Byron Bay, New South Wales. No information is available on the company or individual who registered the name through CyberFrontier.
After an inquiry by ConsumerAffairs.Com, the company hosting the site, CyberFrontier U2Networks Group, said it would suspend the site until presented with evidence of a valid business license.
Holdmycar.com's Web site lists its corporate parent as HMC Inc., 2400 E. Ventura Blvd., Camarillo. The California Secretary of State official corporate listings show an HMC Inc. in Westlake Village but there is no such corporation listed at the Camarillo address.
The telephone number on the Web site, 888-329-8318, is answered by what appears to be a fax machine.