FBI Warns Oklahomans About Cyber Car Fraud
OKLAHOMA CITY - If you are in the market for a car, FBI agents want you to beware of a growing crime trend of cyber car schemes. Oklahomans have reported losing close to one million dollars in one year's time.
Local FBI agents say trust your gut to avoid losing money to these schemes. Spokesperson Andrea Anderson said, “We go with the old cliché. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
The most common places to find fraudulent cars for sale are resale sites like Ebay, craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, where sellers face less scrutiny about their real identity. While most of the offers are legitimate, agents say there are a few red flags that may give away a fake.
Anderson said, “If you experience a seller that’s extremely hesitant on letting you either see the vehicle, touch the vehicle, have identifying markers from the vehicle such as a VIN number or a license plate, those are often tell-tale signs that something just might be weird.”
The FBI says in many of the cases reported to them, the seller never even had the car in their possession. The most common stories used for selling fraudulent cars include military deployments, inheriting the car from a deceased family member or winning the car in a divorce or lawsuit settlement.
If everything seems to check out, agents say you should still keep your guard up when it comes time to pay.
“A lot of the perpetrators will ask that you pay for the vehicle through gift cards…and that’s another huge red flag,” said Anderson.
Last year, nearly 500 people in Oklahoma reported falling victim to these crimes, but the FBI believes there are more out there. Agents say the only way to catch the crooks is through the people they target.
Anderson said, “We stress that victims come forward no matter the monetary loss, no matter the amount of embarrassment that may reside with it.”
Agents say if you are shopping online for a car and notice something suspicious, call your local law enforcement agency instead of trying to confront the seller yourself. You can also report fraud through the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.