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FBI: Online Auto Sales Could Be Scams

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Car dealership (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Car dealership (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The FBI says be careful if you plan on purchasing a car on the Internet, because it could be a scam.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Marsett reports, the FBI has issued a warning that scam artists are trying to appear legitimate and sell you a car and a vehicle protection plan. However, the FBI says there is no car and the VPP is phony.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Marsett reports

According to the bureau, these scammers make the deal look very attractive with prices below book value. They tell you they are either moving or being deployed in the military and need to sell the vehicle right away, without there being time for a vehicle inspection.

But you wire the money and end up with nothing.

The scam artists try to make the deals look legitimate by asking the victim to send full or partial payment to a third-party agent and fax the receipt to the seller. The criminals also use the names of reputable companies and programs such as eBay Motors’ VPP, even though they have no actual association with those companies.

The scammers also sometimes use a live-chat feature in e-mail exchanges and electronic invoices, in which they answer the would-be victims’ questions and assure them that the deals are safe and legitimate. The criminals also falsely claim that their sales are protected by liability insurance coverage up to $50,000.

Anyone who has witnessed this behavior or fallen victim to this type of scam is asked to file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, www.ic3.gov.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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