Monitor Your Dealership’s Online Presence
NJ CAR was recently made aware of a scam in Tennessee where the identity of a real-world, licensed auto retailer was stolen to create a fraudulent website to scam consumers. The scammers created a website and used a fake number in the name of a dealership that has been in business since 1991. They advertised nonexistent vehicles and accepted electronic fund transfers from consumers who thought they were buying a car from a legitimate dealership. The Tennessee-based dealership was only made aware of the scam when they were contacted by three of the victims.
NJ CAR encourages dealers to regularly monitor their online presence to ensure phony websites are not operating under your name or a substantially similar name. The Coalition has also made the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs aware and asked them to be on the lookout for similar scams. We also highlighted the fact that these are exactly the sorts of activities that can come about from an unscrupulous, unlicensed and unregulated broker.
The FBI offers several tips to consumers purchasing a vehicle online, but they are good advice for anyone, including dealers, who may make an online purchase:
- Verify the legitimacy of the seller and their actual possession of the vehicle.
- Be cautious of vehicles advertised well below their market value.
- Research the advertised item, the seller’s contact information (name, email, phone, etc.), as well as their shipping and payment policies.
- If you are suspicious or unsure about any detail, contact the business directly.