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  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 8, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , used car   

    Used car scammers are selling rental cars 

    Used car scammers are selling rental cars

    By Greg Collier

    A woman from Houston, Texas, was shocked when two men showed up in her driveway looking for the car she had just bought. She had just purchased a 2019 Toyota Camry for $11,000 through a Craigslist seller. A little below Blue Book value, but not an unreasonable price. She even did a car history check, where nothing unusual turned up. Yet, there were the two men saying the car was theirs.

    The two men had rented the car and tracked it using an Apple AirTag. Now, that may sound like a scam itself, but according to police, their claim was legitimate. This left the woman confused because she had the car’s title. Unfortunately, the title turned out to be a fake.

    The car was returned to its owner, leaving the victim out of her $11,000. A man was arrested for selling her the car and producing a fake title.

    Houston police said you can tell a title is fake by holding it up to the light, if you don’t see the state seals, the title is fraudulent. They also suggested taking the title to a local police department and having them check if the title is valid.

    Buying a used car from a private seller should be treated just like any other purchase. If you don’t want to be ripped off or robbed, the best place to complete the transaction is at your local police department. This will dissuade a lot of scammers and thieves from pulling their scam on you.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 27, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , used car   

    Scammers don’t care if you’re rich or poor 

    By Greg Collier

    If you’re a regular reader, you may have noticed many scammers often target high-dollar victims. We often post stories about victims who have lost thousands of dollars to scammers. That may cloud someone’s judgement into thinking low-income families aren’t targeted as much by scammers than families in a higher income bracket. Nothing could be further from the truth. Lower income families are targeted just as much, if not more, than higher income targets.

    Think about it for a moment. People in low-income situations are often living paycheck to paycheck. Unfortunately, this also means that when something goes wrong, like a car breaking down or needing a place to stay, they can find themselves in a desperate situation. Scammers live off this desperation and count on it when looking for victims to scam.

    For example, a single mother from Ohio was finally able to save up enough for a used car. It may have only been $800, but for many, it takes a long time to save up that kind of money. She found a 1997 Honda Civic for sale on Facebook Marketplace. She met with the seller who sold her the car, but afterward, she noticed something was wrong with the title.

    The seller allegedly forged the name of the car’s previous owner on the title. That person had recently passed away after taking their own life. It’s believed the seller stole the car from a deceased man’s family before selling it to the victim. Unfortunately, police had to seize the car as evidence, leaving the single mother with no car and no money.

    If you find yourself in a situation like this where you’re in a time-critical situation with your finances, please keep in mind there are plenty of people looking to scam you. While it may be time-consuming, you’ll save yourself plenty of headaches if you research the situation before handing over any money.

    For a used car, you’ll want to research the car’s history to make sure the seller is who they say they are, and they’re not selling you a lemon. When it comes to finding a new place to rent, you want to make sure you’re not handing money over to someone who doesn’t actually own the property. A quick search of the property’s address should reveal plenty of information about the property.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 11, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AirTags, , , , , , , used car   

    Scammers use AirTags to steal cars 

    Scammers use AirTags to steal cars

    By Greg Collier

    If you’re not familiar with AirTags, they’re a device sold by Apple that is essentially a tracking device. AirTags are intended to be used on things you don’t want to lose, such as keys and luggage. Some have even attached AirTags to their pets’ collars, so they can be located quickly if they get out. However, bad actors have used AirTags for more nefarious purposes. Unfortunately, there have been numerous instances of stalkers using AirTags to track their victims. Car thieves are also infamous users of AirTags.

    One such car thief was recently arrested in Minnesota, after a potential victim discovered his scam. The thief allegedly stole cars, then sold them to unsuspecting buyers on Facebook Marketplace. The cars would have an AirTag planted on them, so the thief could go back after the sale and steal the car back to sell it again.

    The Minnesota buyer felt like something was wrong with the sale when they were given a freshly cut key and a car title that felt like it was printed on the wrong type of paper. The risk in using AirTags in a scam like this is anyone nearby with an iPhone will be notified there’s an AirTag in their vicinity. The buyer’s wife did have an iPhone and received one of these notices. The buyer notified police, who apprehended the alleged scammer.

    Car thieves will also use AirTags to mark cars they want to steal at a later time. For example, a car thief could spot a car in a parking lot. Then, after attaching an AirTag somewhere on the vehicle, the thief can wait until the car is parked somewhere it would be easier to steal.

    If you use an iPhone and receive an AirTag notification, you’ll also be given an option to have the AirTag make a noise, This way, you’ll hopefully be able to locate the AirTag, and stop it from tracking you or your vehicle.

    If you’re thinking you’re out of luck because you have an Android Phone, we have some good news for you. Android also has an ant-stalking feature that will detect AirTags and similar trackers. Navigate to the Settings menu, select “Safety and Emergency,” and then access the “Unknown Tracker Alerts” option. Here, you have the option to toggle automatic scanning on or off and manually initiate a scan to check for the presence of any unidentified AirTags that might have been accompanying you.

  • Geebo 8:01 am on August 29, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: curbstoning, , , used car,   

    VIN cloning and curbstoning used car scams 

    VIN cloning and curbstoning used car scams

    By Greg Collier

    It seems like nothing evokes the feeling of a scam more than buying a used car. Even when using a licensed car dealer, many used car buyers still feel like they’re being scammed in one way or another. Buying from a private seller seems even more fraught with scams these days. So, here are two used car scams you may want to be on the lookout for, as they’re happening in a large part of the country.

    The first scam we’re going to share today is one we’ve discussed before, and it’s called VIN cloning. This is when car thieves steal a car and replace the vehicle identification number (VIN) tags with VIN tags from a similar make and model.

    This scam recently happened to a man in Phoenix. He found a Ford Bronco Raptor for sale on Craigslist for $75,000. When the man went to buy the truck, it had Alaska license plates on it. He was told the truck had been driven to Phoenix from Alaska. The man checked the truck’s history and no red flags appeared. He was even able to get the truck registered and insured with no problem.

    It wasn’t until the man tried to trade in the truck at a dealership when a technician found a discrepancy in the VIN tags. The truck had been part of a massive car theft incident in Detroit, where numerous vehicles had been stolen from the Ford factory. Police took possession of the truck, which resulted in the man being out $75,000.

    Unfortunately, there was not much the man could have done to protect himself. He did all his due diligence, and still fell victim to a rather costly scam. The only thing we can recommend is to avoid buying cars through Craigslist.

    However, not many people can readily purchase a $75,000 truck. Many people just need a vehicle to take them to work or take their kids to school. And without a car, they may have no way of getting one. It’s difficult to do much of anything without a car in most of the country.

    Scammers are preying upon people like this by selling them mechanically failing cars in a process called ‘curbstoning’. Curbstoning takes place when an individual without a dealer license engages in selling vehicles, often utilizing social media advertisements as a medium, and deliberately hides any underlying mechanical problems. The most significant warning sign in this situation is that the seller avoids transferring the car’s ownership into their name before completing a sale.

    When someone has a desperate enough need for a vehicle, they may ignore any red flags that happen in a car sale like this. The danger is these cars could end up costing them more eventually due to mechanical failures or issues with registration and insurance.

    To safeguard yourself from curbstoning, it’s essential to ensure that the seller possesses the title, and the name listed on that document corresponds with the name on the seller’s driver’s license.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 16, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , used car, ,   

    Scam Round Up: A new stolen car scam and more 

    Scam Round Up: A new stolen car scam and more

    By Greg Collier

    This week, in the Round Up, we’ll be reviewing two scams we’ve discussed before and a new one that took even us by surprise.

    Today’s first scam is one that we thought we’d see more of, but that could just mean that victims aren’t coming forward. Anyway, the voice spoofing scam has found its way to another family, this time in Tacoma, Washington. The scammers spoofed the voice of the family’s 16-year-old daughter and said that she had been in a car wreck and needed $10,000. Scammers only need a few seconds of someone’s voice to be able to generate that person’s voice using AI technology.

    This voice spoofing technology has been used in the grandparent scam, as shown above, and the virtual kidnapping scam. Even if your ears are trying to convince you that you’re talking to a loved one, always verify their story. Try to use another device to contact that person. Or have a code phrase set up beforehand with your family in case of an actual emergency.

    The second scam for today seems like it’s popping up more often lately, if the news is any indication. More homeowners have been receiving concerning letters in the mail that many think are coming from their mortgage company. In reality, the letters are from someone trying to sell a home warranty policy. However, the Better Business Bureau notes that the fine print should tell you all you need to know about the letter. In some instances, the letter says something similar to, “Not all consumers have previous coverage. We are not affiliated with your current mortgage.”

    If you have any questions or concerns about your mortgage or current home warranty, call those companies directly. Do not use any contact information contained in the letter.

    Lastly, it seems we’ve seen a number of car scams emerge, and this may be one of the most heinous. Selling a stolen car online is nothing new. It’s the buyers who pay the price once they find out that the car is stolen when they’re notified by either the DMV or the police. More recently, car scammers are taking the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of a car of a similar make and model, and using it on the stolen car.

    This way, when a buyer may run a vehicle history report, it will come back with the history of a car that hasn’t been stolen.

    However, this isn’t a perfect scam for the scammers. A buyer would need to look out for any discrepancies between the vehicle history and what the seller is telling you. If there are any discrepancies, or there’s an issue with any paperwork, the buyer should walk away.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 8, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , used car   

    This car scam could have police at your door 

    By Greg Collier

    When someone falls victim to a used car scam, the best-case scenario is they only lose their money. In some other instances, victims have been severely injured or worse. However, in at least one instance, police showed up at a victim’s home looking to arrest them.

    A man from Los Angeles makes his living buying cars, then flipping them for a profit. Recently, he bought a high-end car off Craigslist that he thought he got for a bargain. As a seasoned pro in the used car game, the man thought he had covered all of his bases. The seller’s driver’s license matched the name on the title, and the title appeared to be legitimate.

    The man was getting ready to take the car to an auction when not only did police show up at his home, but they had their guns drawn. As with most used car scams from Craigslist, the man had bought a stolen car and police assumed he stole it.

    It turned out, the person who stole the car did so from a car sharing platform called Turo. It’s like Airbnb, except for cars. People make money by renting out their car when they’re not using it.

    Thankfully, everything was cleared up, but the man who bought the car was out $32,000.

    When buying a used car from any online marketplace, there are some steps you should take to prevent being scammed. As with just about any scam, if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Try to get the seller to meet you either at the DMV, the local police station, or AAA. According to the news report we saw, AAA can verify that the real owner of the car matches the name on the title. Use a vehicle history report service like CARFAX or AutoCheck to check the car’s history. And lastly, ask to see the seller’s identification and the car’s VIN before going to meet the seller. Scammers often don’t give up that information voluntarily.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 23, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , used car   

    Old used car scam still thriving 

    By Greg Collier

    When something has been around a long time, it sometimes gets taken for granted. Many people will assume that others just know about it. However, there are always going to be those who are just learning about whatever it is we might assume is common knowledge. That’s what we’re dealing with in today’s scam.

    A Tennessee man recently lost hundreds of dollars to a used car scam, not at any dealership, but on Facebook Marketplace. The man found a 2001 Toyota Tacoma for $800, which was right in his price range. When the man contacted the seller, he was met with a very old scam.

    The seller claimed to be in the military and was getting ready to ship out. They were supposedly selling the truck because they didn’t want to pay for insurance and storage while deployed. In addition to that, the seller claimed their spouse recently passed away and that was another reason they wanted to sell the truck.

    Being deployed with the military is a tactic that scammers have been using since the earliest days of online marketplaces. Not only does the story garner sympathy from the buyer, but it also lends legitimacy as to why the vehicle is being sold well below market value.

    Another story scammers like to use is the one about the deceased relative. Typically, the scammer will say the vehicle belonged to this relative, and they’re selling it due to grief. This scammer used both stories to fleece their victim.

    To add yet another layer to the scam, the buyer was told that the truck was going to be delivered by eBay and that he needed to pay for the car in gift cards. While eBay does have a platform where you can buy and sell cars, they do not deliver any vehicles. Again, this is a common tactic used by scammers to make the phony purchase seem more legitimate.

    If you’re looking to buy a car online from a private seller, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is, if the seller is claiming they’re selling the car because they’re leaving the area, be very wary. This is especially so if the seller claims the vehicle’s owner is in the military. Also, be careful when any claims are made that the vehicle’s owner is recently deceased. Lastly, never pay any private seller with gift cards. That is a surefire sign that you’re being scammed.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 5, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , used car   

    Victim robbed of $15K in used car scam 

    Victim robbed of $15K in used car scam

    By Greg Collier

    Most of the scams we discuss don’t often put you in any kind of physical danger. Unfortunately, there are a handful that can do just that. If you’re a frequent buyer or seller using online marketplace platforms, you may know exactly what we’re talking about. Throughout the life of Craigslist, there have been over 100 homicides connected to the site. OfferUp has had some violent crimes attached to it as well. Many of these murders have come from robberies gone bad, where either the buyer or the seller has been fatally injured. Even today, these kinds of crimes continue to persist even with a platform like Facebook Marketplace.

    A woman from Michigan saved up $15,000 to purchase a new car. She found one on Marketplace for just the right price. However, the car was four hours away in Cincinnati, Ohio. The woman took her parents with her when she went to meet the seller of the car. The victim got into the truck of the seller to exchange the money, since they had met in a parking lot. It was at this point, the seller pointed a gun at the woman’s head and robbed her of the $15,000 in cash. The thief is still at large as of the last report and may have victimized other Marketplace users. Thankfully, the victim was physically unharmed.

    Thieves often advertise used cars as a way to lure their victims. They do this in order to ensure their victims are carrying large amounts of cash. But as we said, many times these encounters can turn lethal. Sometimes there is a struggle for the gun, other times the thieves didn’t want to leave any witnesses.

    This doesn’t happen with just used cars, either. It can happen with any type of transaction facilitated through an online marketplace. It used to be recommended to users to meet the other person in daylight at a busy part of town. Those suggestions don’t apply anymore, as the thieves have become so brazen to steal and sometimes kill in broad daylight.

    The best way to protect yourself during one of these exchanges is to meet the other person at a local police department. In the article we linked to above, a Cincinnati police detective even said that they don’t think there isn’t a police department in Ohio that wouldn’t be willing to have the exchange made there.

    This isn’t a guarantee that someone won’t try to rob you, but it goes a long way in discouraging many that would.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 12, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , used car   

    Flood damaged cars are about to hit the market 

    Flood damaged cars are about to hit the market

    By Greg Collier

    By some estimates, 300,000 cars were damaged by flooding in the wake of Hurricane Ian. Many of them will end up being a total loss. However, this won’t stop many of these vehicles from ending up on car lots in states that weren’t affected by the storm. Potentially, you could be car shopping in Arizona and end up buying a flood damaged car from Florida without even knowing.

    This is done through a process called title-washing. When a car damaged to the point where the insurance company considers it a loss, the car is issued a salvage title. The problem with salvage titles is the amount of damage required varies by state. For example, one state may require the car’s damage to be 75% of its worth. Meanwhile, another state may require the damage to be 85% of the car’s worth. This way, unscrupulous car dealers could move the car from one state to the other to get a clean title.

    You can protect yourself from this scam. One of the best ways is to get a vehicle history of the car from a service like CARFAX. This could help you pinpoint if a vehicle was in a certain area during a natural disaster.

    A thorough inspection of the vehicle is also recommended to avoid buying a flood car. If the car smells musty, there’s a good chance it’s been caught in a flood. Also, be wary of a car that has an overpowering smell of air freshener or deodorizer, as that could be covering up the musty smell. Look for signs of water damage like mud and waterlines. Look for them in places like the trunk, under the dashboard, and in the glove box. You should also check for inordinate amounts of rust for a vehicle that may not be as old as it looks.

    Lastly, if you suspect someone of trying to sell you a damaged flood vehicle, you can report it to the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline toll-free at 866-720-5721 or at the FTC’s website.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , t-shirt scam, used car   

    Scam Round Up: New Social Security scam and more 

    Scam Round Up: New Social Security scam and more

    By Greg Collier

    This week in the Scam Round Up, we’re bringing you a story with a happy ending, for once, and a whole bunch of scams.


    Our happy ending story is one that starts out with a Philadelphia-area man who fell for the grandparent scam. He was led to believe his son was in jail on a DUI and needed $25,000 for bail. The scammers enlisted the service of a Lyft driver who was supposed to take the $25,000 to the scammers. The driver felt like something was up and tried to confirm the identity of the so-called attorney who was supposed to get the money. When the attorney wouldn’t provide identification to the Lyft driver, the driver took the money to police, who were able to return the money to the victim.

    Please keep in mind, if someone says they’re sending a rideshare or courier to your home to pick up money for some kind of emergency, the odds are pretty good they’re trying to scam you. If a relative or loved one claims to be in jail, attempt to contact them first before sending any money. More than likely, you’ll find out they’re ok.


    Just because Amazon’s Prime Day is over, that doesn’t mean Amazon scams will stop. A sheriff’s office just outside of Richmond, Virginia, is warning residents about an Amazon phone scam taking place there. In this scam, the victims receive a call from someone claiming to be with Amazon. The caller will say there are suspicious charges on the victim’s account. They’ll then say they’re connecting you with police. Except, everyone on the call is a scammer trying to get your financial information.

    Amazon rarely calls their customers, even if there are fraudulent charges. If you receive a phone call like this, hang up, then check your Amazon account to make sure there are no fraudulent charges on the account.


    An old used car scam is making a reappearance, or maybe it never went away. The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about used cars for sale that the seller claims is being stored out of state. The scammers will claim that you need to pay a transport company with either gift cards or a money transfer. Often, the scammers will claim that eBay is shipping the vehicle. While eBay does have a used car marketplace, they do not do any shipping of vehicles. And as usual, gift cards should only be used as gifts, and money transfers should never be sent to people you don’t know personally.


    One scam that has been popping up all over the country is the police T-shirt scam. From coast to coast, residents have been receiving text messages that claim to be selling T-shirts for their local police department. The text message contains a link that is supposed to be a shop for the T-shirts, but is actually a fake website designed to take your financial information. If you receive one of these texts, block the number and delete the text.


    Lastly, there seems to be a new Social Security scam going around the country. According to reports, there’s an ad circulating on social media that claims Social Security will provide a spending card for adults over the age of 51. This is not true, as Social Security offers no such service. More than likely, if someone tries to apply for one of these fictitious cards, the scammers will either ask for financial information, or they’ll ask for a payment first before the card can be issued.

    If you see an ad that promises you amazing Social Security or Medicare benefits, be very skeptical of them. Too often, these services are either misleading or downright fraudulent.

    If you have any questions about these advertised services, it is recommended you contact the Social Security Administration first at 1 (800) 772-1213.

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