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Online vehicle sellers and shippers scam warning issued

 

The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota issued a consumer warning Friday regarding online vehicle shopping after consumers reported more than 20 fraudulent vehicle shipping companies between the two states this summer.

Fraudulent online entities had addresses listed in Minneapolis, St. Cloud, Rochester, Duluth, Staples, Fargo, Bismarck and Grand Forks. Most scams involved cars, trucks, Jet Skis, boats, semi-trucks and farm equipment that were posted with cheap prices in publications including Autotrader and Craigslist.

The scam ads typically includes a sad personal story about why the vehicle needs to be sold immediately to help lure a potential buyer. The scams sometimes include fake escrow companies for the buyer to wire money but no vehicle is ever delivered.

Some of the fraudulent company names include Minneapolis Express Deliveries, Westco Logistics, Rochester Cargo Center, and Caldwell Green Transportation.

The Better Business Bureau recommends potential buyers insist on meeting the seller and inspecting the vehicle before buying, and to ensure a transportation company is legitimate and ensure the company has a required U.S. Department of Transportation for a motor carrier number before sending or wiring money.

Other recommendations include checking for errors on the company’s website and ensuring the domain registration at Whois.com or similar websites. Look for registered complaints about the companies on the business profiles at bbb.org.