More of us are buying cars online, because they are often cheaper that way. But it's a lot costlier if you end up on a fake website.
WSB's Bob Coxe reports Kelley Blue Book, the popular car valuation company, is warning consumers about a scam that uses a counterfeit version of its website.
The car seller, who doesn't really have a car to sell, directs you to the scam site, where you're offered a supposed "buyer protection plan" in case the car isn't delivered. You're asked to wire your payment to a third party and fax the seller your proof of payment.
"Recently, criminals have added sophisticated technology to their scam by adding 800 numbers and offering live chat with potential buyers in an effort to ease their concerns about online car buying and detailed information on the fraudulent buyer protection programs," said Shayne Brown, associate general counsel, Kelley Blue Book.
The real Kelley Blue Book says they have nothing to do with any online escrow service, and they're trying to remove the phony sites from the Internet.
"In the meantime, car shoppers should know that any type of online consumer escrow service backed by our company is a scam," said Brown.
The FBI claims that every 90 minutes a complaint is filed and an auto shopper loses $1,000 every hour due to fraudulent websites and phony vehicle listings.