AG Curtis Hill advises Hoosiers to exercise caution when responding to online ads aimed at vehicle buyers

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Attorney General Curtis Hill is warning consumers purchasing vehicles from online advertisements to check the identity of sellers before responding to such ads.

Multiple Indiana consumers have contacted the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division alleging they have lost money after wiring payments to an unknown person posting online advertisements purporting to sell vintage vehicles, typically 1950-era trucks.

The ads claim the vehicles are in good condition and available for $18,000 to $22,000, according to consumers. The ads bear names and contact information of legitimate Indiana dealers, but the named dealers are not associated with the ads and do not possess the vehicles purportedly offered for sale.

When consumers contact the purported sellers using contact information from the online ads, the “sellers” impersonate the legitimate dealers whose identities have been assumed. The “sellers” then instruct consumers to wire money to bank accounts and promise to ship the vehicles the next day. The sellers then stop communicating – and the consumers receive no vehicle.

Attorney General Hill advises consumers who are considering purchasing a vehicle advertised online to confirm the contact information provided in the advertisement by visiting the Indiana Secretary of State’s dealer website at https://dealers.sos.in.gov/PublicDealerSearch/PublicSearch. If any contact information in the ad is different from that found on the website, be sure to investigate why. Instead of contacting the seller using the information from the ad, contact the seller using the contact information from the Secretary of State’s website.

Consumers should always be wary of buying vehicles without physically inspecting them. If sellers refuse requests to physically inspect vehicles prior to purchases, you should not agree to any deal and should not send any money to such sellers.

Anyone who believes they have encountered an attempted scam is encouraged to file a consumer complaint with the Office of the Attorney General at indianaconsumer.com or by calling 1-800-382-5516.

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