Arizona Attorney General

Mark Brnovich



Consumer Alert: AG Horne Urges Consumers To Be Cautious About Potentially Bogus Online Car Sales Scam

PHOENIX (Tuesday, August 16, 2011)  --  Attorney General Tom Horne, in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, today issued a notice to consumers about a burgeoning online car sales scam.  In this scam, criminals list cars for sale online at very low prices.  When a buyer shows interest, the sham seller provides a compelling story explaining that the unusually low price is set because the seller needs cash immediately to pay for medical care, to facilitate a divorce, prepare for an overseas military deployment, or a similar story. 

The buyer is informed the transaction will be handled by a legitimate online auction site, such as eBay, and will be covered by its “vehicle purchase protection” insurance coverage.
The legitimate site has nothing to do with the scheme, but the scammers will often create look-alike sites and send invoices that appear legitimate followed by instructions to wire payment through a wire service, such as Western Union, or through bank transfer.  Eventually, the buyer is left with no vehicle and loses all the money to the scam artist.

“Consumers always need to be on the alert,” Horne said.  “The online buying world is rapidly expanding, and unfortunately, that leads to more consumer scams such as this one.  Consumers need to remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”

More information on this scam is available from the Federal Bureau of Investigation at this link:

And this: