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BBB of MN and ND issues vehicle sellers and shippers warning

InForum News Brief FSA

MINNEAPOLIS — The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Minnesota and North Dakota warns consumers shopping for a vehicle online to be aware of too-good-to-be-true prices.

After months of investigating, the BBB has learned of fraudulent online entities with addresses listed in Minneapolis, St. Cloud, Rochester, Duluth and Staples in Minnesota and Fargo, Bismarck, and Grand Forks in North Dakota.

How the scam works: the consumer finds an ad online for a vehicle at a low price on Craigslist, Autotrader or other local publications. When the consumer contacts the seller, the seller tells them a sad story about a significant life event and that they need to sell the vehicle as soon as possible. If the consumer asks to see the vehicle before purchasing, the seller says they can't show it to them because it's in storage.

The seller then refers the consumer to a third-party to handle the transaction and shipping of the vehicle. If a consumer moves forward with the purchase, they are asked to wire money to a bank.

Once the transaction is complete, the seller disappears and the consumer never receives the vehicle or a refund.


Consumers who have lost money in this kind of scam are encouraged to file a complaint with the BBB, to contact their bank and report it to local law enforcement.

Contact the BBB at thefirstbbb.org or toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.

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