OKLAHOMA CITY - The Federal Bureau of Investigation Oklahoma City is urging Oklahomans to be aware of increased online car fraud throughout the state.

According to officials, criminal perpetrators are posting false advertisements online claiming to have vehicles for sale that are not currently available or in their possession.

The advertisements usually include photos of the vehicle along with a phone number or email address to contact the seller.  

The criminal will often provide a reason to stress the urgency of the transaction, according to authorities.

The common reasons generally given:

  • The seller is moving or will be deployed (common in Oklahoma cyber frauds)
  • The seller has received the vehicle as part of a divorce or lawsuit settlement
  • The vehicle previously belonged to a deceased relative

Cyber car fraud schemes have resulted in an estimated loss of $962,725 in Oklahoma between October 2016 through September 2017, according to the FBI.

FBI tips to avoid and recognize fraudulent online vehicle sales:

  • Ask for identifying vehicle information such as the Vehicle Identification Number, the license plate (if possible), or the identification of the current registered owner.
  • Be cautious of disguised, obscured, or deceptive e-mail domains and addresses. If unsure, exercise caution and locate the business online or contact them directly.
  • Avoid sellers who show resistance to allowing the buyer to physically inspect the vehicle, or who refuse to meet in person.
  • Ensure the company legitimacy by thoroughly researching the company's contact information and all shipping and payment polices prior to completing any transactions.

Nationally, the FBI reports a monetary loss totaling an estimated $57,000,000 related to cyber car fraud schemes.

Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of, or have knowledge of, an online scam or fraud initiative are encouraged to contact the FBI Oklahoma City Field Office at 405-290-7770. Victims can also file an online complaint here.