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Warning: Auto Sales Scam Taking Place on Craigslist, Says NICB

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/8/2015 Karla Sanchez

If you’re trying to sell your vehicle on Craigslist, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) encourages you to be careful. That’s because people are using fake checks to purchase vehicles on the popular website, with several dozens of people falling victim to the organized scam.

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Together with law enforcement agencies from the Chicago area and across the Midwest, the NICB has pinpointed nearly 100 cases of people being scammed out of money with phony bank checks used to pay for the vehicle. Such was the case for Mike and Christy Childers of Kentucky, who put their 2010 Chevrolet Corvette up for sale on Craigslist. The Childers thought they were being careful by verifying the cashier’s check with their bank before handing off the car, and after being told by the bank that it was “guaranteed,” the Childers made arrangements for the buyer to pick up the car using a car transporter service. Much to their surprise, they later found out that the check was indeed a fake. Fortunately, Kentucky police were able to jump on the case quickly and recover the Corvette, which was listed for sale again in Chicago. MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image

This goes to show that this could happen to anyone, no matter how careful you think you are. “These scams are well organized and have all the appearances of being legitimate,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “But in the end, the criminal gets the car and the sellers or their financial institutions are left on the hook for thousands of dollars still owed on the car.”

To ensure nothing like this happens again, the NICB advises vehicle sellers take certain precautions. Face-to-face meetings should take place at a location that is highly public, with a police station being one of the safer places. The NICB also advises sellers to never sign over a title until money is in hand. Checks should also be avoided, but if there’s no way around it, take the time to make sure any alleged bank or cashier’s check has cleared and that you have your money. “It may take a week to 10 days for a check to clear. If it’s bogus, you could be left responsible for paying off the loan even though the car is long gone,” said the NICB in a release.

There are plenty more safety guidelines, which the NICB lists here.

Source: NICB

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