Archive for the ‘scams’ Category

Kelley Blue Book Escrow Scam Targets Online Auto Buyers

February 6, 2012 Leave a comment

Websites that look almost identical to the famous Kelley Blue Book auto pricing guide site are being used as a front for a phony escrow scam.

Escrow is the system where a third party, independent of a buyer or seller, holds the money for a deal until a product is delivered.

The buyer pays the money to the escrow company, the seller sends the product to the buyer, and then once it’s received, the escrow company hands the cash to the seller.

That’s great, provided the escrow company is legit and honest but crooks set up bogus escrow companies and then simply run off with the cash.

According to Kelley Blue Book, the latest fake websites offer what seems to be an escrow-type buyer protection program, a service that Kelley Blue Book itself does not, repeat NOT, offer.

So, as the company says, “any escrow-based consumer-to-consumer service or Buyer & Seller Protection Program offered under its name is a scam.”

The con starts with a bogus online car listing on a reputable site. The price is usually very low for the make and model, with a phony excuse about a quick sale being needed because of a divorce or military deployment.

The listing usually has a link to another site, supposedly offering more details. It may look very similar to the Kelley Blue Book site,, teeming with all sorts of guarantees and buyer protection info.

Buyers are then supposed to wire full or partial payment to the bogus Kelley Blue Book escrow service. Since this would be an electronic cash payment, the recipient is untraceable.

“Recently, criminals have added sophisticated technology to their scam by adding 800 numbers and offering live chat with potential buyers in an effort to ease their concerns about online car buying and detailed information on the fraudulent buyer protection programs,” says Shayne Brown, Kelley Blue Book associate general counsel.

As we always warn, you should never wire money to someone you don’t know and you should always check the true address of the site you’re visiting in the browser address bar.

The FBI has some great tips on how to avoid online car buying scams.

via Scambusters

Categories: auto, scams