Online Grand Theft Auto

One of the fraudulent websites was called American Auto Sales. It was a flashy site that appeared to be in Memphis. It was advertising an extensive list of repossessed cars at outrageously low prices. It looked like a certified CARFAX dealership. One person went to this site and settled on a 2006 car for $2,000.00. She wired a deposit to the dealership via money gram.

The purchaser was assured that the site was legitimate because of the CARFAX logo. She did her own research on the company. The company has an “A” rating with Better Business Bureau. She found that the website was a hoax, and quickly disappeared from the Internet. The real American Auto Sales was left more than one thousand (1000) calls. The company’s identity had been stolen, along with thousands of dollars from consumers.

The fraudulent company used the real company’s name, address, and all of its information. The fraudulent company did not exist. The website claimed that it was backed by CARFAX. When CARFAX was questioned, they said that they do not certify dealerships.

They said that these are trusted companies that consumers rely on. These websites are playing off of that trust to fool consumers. In 2009, the FBI received six-thousand eight hundred and fifty- eight (6,858) consumer complaints about Internet auto fraud, and four thousand and three hundred (4,300) complaints already in 2010.

Sources say that fraud continues to grow as the Internet becomes more prolific, and as criminals decide to use it as a media for criminal activity. The fraudulent website was tracked down. It is now posing as Super Auto Sales in Hazard, KY, and is still advertising the 2006 automobile that the first consumer paid more than two thousand dollars ($2,000) for.

There is no official headquarters, but when you call their website, you get a recording telling whoever calls to use their online contact form. The reporters did speak to someone on a chat line, but got nowhere. The victim’s words of warning to anyone looking to buy something online is, “If it is too good to be true, it is.”

Money gram will issue a “cease and desist order” to individuals running that website that ripped off these consumers, demanding that they stop telling people to wire money through money gram. When investigators tried to find the company, they had moved.

These thieves keep stealing real companies’ identities and keep building websites, and continue to do business as usual. Things to look out for when shopping online:
Price too good to be true
Won’t deal with you on the phone
Can’t go to dealership in person
Only deal with consumer via e-mail
Want you to wire money – the biggie

Identity Theft is the fasting growing Internet crime in America. They sell information instead of guns. Identity Theft is a serious problem. Every three (3) to four (4) hours, someone becomes a victim. Thieves will steal money, your credit, and your name. Protect yourself from Identity Theft. Your identity is your most valuable asset. To learn more about how to minimize your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft, visit http://www.margiewrobinson.com