Here are a few of the latest scams the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3.gov) wants consumers to be aware of:
A fraudster posts a “nonexistent vehicle” for sale online. (Accompanying photos are from another post and details are fictitious.)
According to the seller, the vehicle is overseas and the buyer needs to wire transfer funds.
This isn’t news so far. But the new twist begins when the “seller” says there’s a problem with the initial wire transfer.
The buyer is then sent a counterfeit cashier’s check and asked to send another wire transfer to a different account.
The problem is that the fraudsters understand the U.S. banking system and know that the bank will make cashier check funds available in your account, prompting you to wire the funds to the seller. But days later the bank will inform you it is counterfeit.
Kelley Blue Book Used in Scam
Complaints to IC3 detail how fraudsters are using the Kelley Blue book name to deceive some purchasing vehicles online.
Upon finding a vehicle and making an inquiry to the seller, the complainant was told that the transaction must go through KBB’s escrow-based buyer-protection plan to protect both of them.
The interested buyer was told that their money would be held for five days while KBB inspected the vehicle. The buyer would receive a link to a website claiming to be the KBB, lending legitimacy to the “transaction”.
The fraudster then provided instructions for purchasing via wire transfer. You can guess what happened next.
Mystery Shopper Radio Ads
One version of mystery shopping asks “employees” to evaluate money transfer services. It goes like this:
In this process, the shopper receives a check with instructions to deposit it in a personal bank account, withdraw the amount in cash, and wire it to a third party. After wiring the cash to a third party, the victim learns that the check was counterfeit, and loses the amount of money involved.
Many times we have heard from individuals who argue the opportunity must be genuine because it was published in the newspaper, on a radio station, or listed on a reputable website (like one from a local TV station). But these outlets tell us they don’t have the ability to check out every company or individual that wants to advertise with them.
In one instance, as the IC3 recounts, a radio station sold an advertising spot to a “mystery shopper” program and then learned it was a scam when listeners complained to the station.