CLAYTON – A 60 year-old man was hoping to buy a classic car online but instead lost his money and never received the vehicle.
Last month, the victim was looking on the internet and found a 1970 GTO for sale. The victim said he emailed the seller who claimed her husband had recently died and she did not want to keep the car. The victim agreed to send $15,600 for the car and shipping. The individual promised to ship the car immediately. After the car failed to arrive on the date promised, the victim tried repeatedly to contact the seller before learning he had been scammed.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), criminals post ads on online auction and sales websites for used cars they don’t really own. They chat online and email, share photos and answer questions. Some even send fake invoices that appear to be from legitimate companies.
The FTC says you should search online for the person’s name, phone number and email address. Resist pressure to buy. Scammers often have an excuse why they can’t meet in person or talk on the phone. Experts agree that you should have an independent mechanic inspect a used car before you buy it.
Trusted buyers have lost millions of dollars in online car sales scams, the FTC reports.
According to the FBI, scammers often give these three reasons why they are selling the used vehicles:
- The seller is moving or being deployed by the military.
- The seller received the vehicle as part of a divorce settlement.
- The vehicle belonged to a relative who has died.
The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident but says it is doubtful the money can be recovered.