SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – A San Antonio man trying to buy a Bobcat tractor online has lost $8,000 dollars in a vehicle sales scam.
He went through a consignment dealer named Total Auto Depot Group. Jason Meza with the Better Business Bureau says the website had images and phrases similar to legitimate auto dealers. It even included fake positive reviews, but the buyer found out too late.
The private seller posing as a Dallas resident talked him into paying through a wire transfer, which Meza says should have raised a red flag. The buyer paid $8,000 and never got the Bobcat tractor.
“Through a basic wire transfer, the chances of getting that money back are slim to none,” said Meza.
He’s seen this before. The scam may originate on legitimate vehicle purchase sites, but the con artist will take the buyer “offline” to a personal email or bogus site. The seller quickly asks for payment through a wire transfer.
“Always stay and communicate and pay through a certain platform, whether it’s Auto Trader, Ebay Motors or whatever you’re using. Never go offline to a private email. Never try to transfer money outside of the platform,” said Meza.
Speak with the seller by phone and ask questions. Meza says if you start asking too many questions, the scammer will usually stop communications and look for another victim.
Ask for the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and check vehicle history reports. That will show you past ownership, liens, maintenance and accident history. Check with the Better Business Bureau at BBB.org.
“See if you can find the dealer and read the reviews and complaints,” said Meza.