Complaint Review: Internet Antique Auto Scam -
Internet Antique Auto Scam Outdated Private Owner Sale ads on Trovit.com, Mitula.com, Oodle.com Internet Antique Auto Fraud
Do you have dreams of driving an eye-catching antique car? A search of the internet for an antique car or a replica/kit car will generate promising results. Sooner or later as one clicks through the ads a tempting offer will be found. Click "Contact the Seller" and enter your first name and email and a message "I'm interested in..."
Wait for a reply. The Car Owner might excuse they have been really busy. Yes, the car is available for sale, clear title, runs well and if interested reply.
You reply you are interested and desire to inspect and test drive the dream car.
Beware the Car Owner reply that gives some reason that the car is now with a shipper in Anywhere, USA (not the place advertised). The Car Owner might give this or a similar explanation how to complete the deal. The shipper offers an escrow service that will protect both Car Owner and the Buyer in this transaction. The shipper will handle the entire sale process from payment, shipping, title transfer service, returns and refunding. You might have several days to inspect and drive the dream car. If you’re not satisfied, then you will receive a refund. The clincher: shipping is free! All you have to do is contact the shipper. They will send you the wiring instructions and other papers.
The Car Owner discloses that, unfortunately, the Buyer cannot inspect or test drive the car because it has been sealed in a container with the shipper and it is ready to ship anywhere.
Maybe you ask the Car Owner for the car title number so you can begin a title search. The Car Owner replies that the title is inside the sealed car and they don’t remember the number. Or worse, since it is an antique car, it doesn’t have a title!
Congratulations! You have found a variation of the internet escrow scam.
This must be a lucrative scam because it is fairly common. There must be many people who have sent thousands of dollars to the scammer and waited in vain for a dream car that can never arrive. Most reputable antique car websites warn not to send any money for a car you (or a trusted party) has not inspected or test driven. Heed the warning.
First, in spite of all the gorgeous photos in the advertisement and additional photos the Car Owner may send you, the "Car Owner" does not have the car. All this scammer is sending you are photos copied from the internet.
Second, shippers are in the business of picking up and delivering things. Shippers are not licensed to sell cars. Cars being shipped cannot be "sealed" because they must be accessible for inspection by state freight inspection officials or federal customs officers.
Once you learn the name of the shipper try to locate it. The address of the shipper might be a vacant lot. The shipper's website may look legitimate, but often the scammer has copied another company's website and edited the information. Try to locate the shipper's business license on the state website.
A huge red flag should go up, as happened in my experience, when the wiring information you receive is to a company that is not the shipper! You can usually research online the business license of this firm through the official state website. If it is licensed, you will learn the name and address of the person who applied for the license. This is probably the identity of your scammer, or the scammer's partner in fraud.
Third, know that the "escrow account" is the personal account of the scammer. There is no third party. As quickly as the Buyer wires money into this so-called "escrow account", the money is withdrawn or transferred into the scammer's pocket. You probably won't hear from the scammer again. If you do, then prepare for a series of shipping excuses and delays and possibly, to add insult to injury, demands for more monies! You might be asked to pay to get your dream car out of some lot somewhere.
Protect yourself from this ripoff! Insist (and keep on insisting) on inspecting and test driving the car even if it is located thousands of miles away. Claim to have a friend or relative living close enough to inspect and test drive the car for you. Even suggest you can wire the funds to this friend or relative and they can pay the "Car Owner" or a representative in person. If that is too deceptive for you, then just demand to make payment through an independent escrow service of your choosing. (Your bank might be able to help you.)
Finally report this felonious attempt to defraud you to the FBI on their website. Maybe the FBI will get around to investigating it after they have received thousands of complaints. Definitely report this to the FBI and your state attorney general if you have been a victim of this type of ripoff. Don't kick yourself too hard. Hundreds have been ripped off. This scam is clever enough to take advantage of any trusting soul.
And yes, I found my dream car through a reputable dealer.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/29/2018 11:05 AM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/internet-antique-auto-scam/internet-antique-auto-scam-outdated-private-owner-sale-ads-on-trovitcom-mitulacom-ood-1468422. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content
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