Scamming Online Vehicle Purchasers
The IC3 has received complaints reporting fraudsters for misrepresenting themselves as Kelley Blue Book (KBB) agents to swindle victims out of thousands of dollars in online vehicle purchases. Upon finding a vehicle and making an inquiry to the seller, the complainant was told that the transaction must go through KBB’s escrow-based buyer-protection plan to protect both of them.
The fraudsters claimed that the protection plan would hold the buyer’s money for a five-day period while they could receive and inspect the vehicle. The fraudster then sent the complainant a link, which was purportedly to the KBB website, providing details of the process. Some complainants reported that the fraudster sent pictures of the vehicle as well. Once the purchase was agreed upon, the fraudster sent the complainant an official-looking e-mail, purportedly from KBB, instructing them to wire the payment to a KBB agent.
Upon contacting the actual KBB company, complainants were advised that it was a scam and that KBB does not offer an escrow-based buyer-protection plan. Recent articles have been posted on the KBB website warning consumers of this particular scam.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). IC3’s mission is to serve as a vehicle to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding arena of cyber crime.