Police are warning the public to be aware of fraudulent car company websites, where fraudsters are posing as legitimate enterprises. Police say they are engaging in conversations with individuals through Facebook or other social media platforms to solicit potential clients to purchase vehicles.
Once individuals express the desire to purchase a vehicle via the messenger app, the fraudsters respond by asking them the make, model and year of vehicle they want to purchase. For example, take a 2016 Honda accord. the fraudsters then send them images of vehicles fitting their desired description and specifications.
The fraudsters also inform them of the price of the vehicle including shipping cost. Following the agreement on the price, a pro forma invoice is sent via email.
The fraudsters also give wire transfer instructions and the name of the receiver. The receivers are described as a broker for the company. The victim then goes to bank and wires the specified amount. the fraudulent company informs the individual that the
Vehicle would take 6 to 8 weeks to arrive. However, before the expected arrival date, the fraudulent company would create excuses as to the reason why the vehicle has not arrived. such as shipping delaysdue to covid-19 pandemic, wrong wire transfer information ie. money sent to wrong account or that the victim owes a balance for shipping fees.
After weeks or months of being turned around, the matter is reported to the police. Individuals stated that these social media pages appear legitimate as they contain website information which gives the impression that the social media page, website, and email are legitimate. for example, abcautocarsales.com and/or an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org; unsuspecting persons then become comfortable, thinking that the company is legitimate, when in fact they are not.
Recommendation the public can take preventative measures by calling the financial crimes investigations branch to assist them in verifying the legitimacy of an online car sale company. Additionally, an internet searches can be conducted on a potential business before money is sent to international countries.
During a basic internet search, we have seen where individuals from other countries.
Made comments about their experience. This can be a helpful tool when little to no information is known about a company that appears on social media. A little research and help from the police can save you thousands of dollars.