Vehicle Title Scam Targets Car Sellers

Anchorage, Alaska — May 15, 2018 Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific warns car sellers of a con that tricks sellers into purchasing vehicle reports through scam sites.

According to one BBB Scam Tracker report, a man was contacted by someone who claimed to be interested in purchasing it. This potential buyer wanted a report on the vehicle’s identification number (VIN) and asked the seller to purchase one through an unfamiliar website.  Fortunately, this seller recognized the scam and reported it to BBB. But plenty of others have fallen for the con.

Some of these scam sites may simply be a way to steal $20 from unsuspecting customers. But if the site captures personal information, such as an address, driver’s license number, and/or credit card information, buying these reports opens up victims to the risk of identity theft. In other cases, the website link itself may be the scam, downloading malware to the victim’s computer.

Tips to Avoid This Scam:

Be wary if a potential buyer asks you to purchase something from a specific website as a condition for a sale. While an interested buyer may want a VIN report prior purchasing your vehicle, BBB suggests selecting the site yourself and checking it out on BBB.org.

In the United States, the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, a division of the Department of Justice, provides a list of approved providers on their website, vehiclehistory.gov. Insurance carriers, salvage yards, and junk yards are required by federal law to report specific information to NMVTIS.

The following information is available through NMVTIS:

Scams to avoid when selling your vehicle:

Selling your car or truck through an online classifieds site may help you fetch a higher asking price. Unfortunately, independent sellers are often targets for scams. In addition to the vehicle report scam, be sure to look out for these common warning signs:

Read more about online sales scams on BBB.org. If you’ve been a victim of a vehicle purchase scam, help others avoid being scammed by filing a report with BBB.org/ScamTracker.

Michelle Tabler, Alaska Marketplace Manager| 907-644- 5208 | michelle.tabler@thebbb.org
Veronica Craker, Content & Communications Director| 253-722-8732| veronica.craker@thebbb.org