Thursday, July 23, 2015
WFLA…Sarasota Police warn about Craigslist car buying scam. SARASOTA, FL (WFLA)- Sarasota Police are sending out a warning of a Craigslist car buying scam. Detectives tell 8 On Your Side a scammer will pull photographs of a car from a legitimate dealership, and pass it off as their own. Sarasota Police Detective Darrell Nixon said, “They are selling a pretty good story to them.” Nixon said in one recent case, the scammer claimed to be in the Army and had to quickly sell a 2004 Ford Expedition because she was about to be deployed to the Middle East. After the victim wired her $2,500, she vanished.
And the suspects are really good at cleaning up their tracks. “We got 2 different states, somebody said it was picked up in Mississippi, then someone said it was picked up in Louisiana, so we don’t know who picked the money up,” said Nixon. Over the past few months, police have learned of at least three cases. Harold Lowe is the General Manager of Scotti’s Auto Sales. He recently discovered that scammers were using his photographs to defraud unsuspecting buyers. Lowe said, “It makes me mad and kind of sad because they’re taking advantage of a lot of people.” The Better Business Bureau says auto fraud accounts for 12% of all online purchase scams, totaling more than $60 million in losses to consumers
LA TIMES….A federal grand jury has indicted six foreign nationals, alleging they ran an elaborate money-laundering operation that scammed hundreds of customers out of more than $4 million in fake Internet car sales on reputable websites. The 24-count indictment accuses the four men and two women of offering vehicles for sale on EBay Motors, Auto Trader, Yahoo Auto, Edmunds.com, Craigslist and other sites. They then collected electronic payments, siphoning the money to Europe, and never delivered the customers a car, the indictment says.
If convicted, the six defendants — from Germany, Russia, Romania and Latvia — could each face hundreds of years in prison, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office. “This case demonstrates our ability to track down even the most sophisticated fraud artist who attempted to hide behind false identities and the perceived anonymity of the Internet,” said Los Angeles-based U.S. Atty. André Birotte Jr. Authorities say the leaders of the scheme was Corneliu Stefan Weikum, 37, a Romanian national, and Yulia Mishina-Heffron, 23, a native of Yekaterinburg, Russia. Both are in federal custody in Nevada on charges related to bulk cash smuggling. Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, said that although the agency has seen laundering schemes of larger scope, few have been as sophisticated.
For your next used car purchase you might want to actually go to a car dealer in the real world where you can touch the car and maybe even test drive the “real” car before you wire “Joe Cash” his money.