A new, bizarre scam is targeting people who are selling their vehicles online.
The Federal Trade Commission issued a warning this month about vehicle history report scams tricking consumers into giving up their personal information.
Here’s how it works:
You get a call or text from someone who claims to be interested in buying your car, but first, the buyer wants to see your car’s history report.
They ask you, the seller, to get a report from a specific website where you enter some information and pay about $20 by credit card for the vehicle history report.
Then, you send it to the buyer and never hear back from them.
Typically, the website you were directed to ends in “vin” which makes it seem like it has to do with your car’s vehicle identification number of VIN.
However, the Federal Trade Commission warns you should think twice if anyone asks you to do car-related business on a site ending in .vin.
It could be a ruse to get your personal information, including your credit card account number.
“It also could be a way for companies called ‘lead generators’ to get information, which they sell to third parties for advertising and marketing purposes,” said Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist with the FTC. “Your best bet--- play it safe.”
How to protect yourself
You can go to ftc.gov/usedcars for more information on vehicle history reports.
The National Motor Vehicle Title Information system operates the website vehiclehistory.gov, which includes a list of approved vendors of vehicle history reports.
It’s also a good idea to search online for the name of the supposed VIN report company by entering the name of the company, and words like “complaint,” “review,” “rating,” or “scam.”