Courtesy of PSC Brandon Presley’s Office
Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley is alerting the public of a scam affecting businesses in the Northern District involving car sales on Facebook.
The scammers are creating Facebook pages and posing as real local businesses, often showing some of the same inventory as being available from them. The scammer collects a sum of money, usually a down payment, and leaves the buyer to collect an automobile from the legitimate business. The legitimate business, in turn, has received no money from the buyer and is unaware of the scam until the buyer shows up to collect the automobile they believe they purchased legitimately.
Here are a few things to look at to help determine if a Facebook page is possibly a scam page:
- The business page’s name may be slightly different. For instance, instead of John Doe Auto, it could be JD Auto or Jon Doe Cars.
- Information to contact the business could be suspicious. For instance, a local dealer providing a different number than that listed on their website or a personal or private email address that is not listed on the dealership’s website.
- The prices of vehicles offered are far lower than the current market value.
- Is the page itself suspicious? Is it a newly created page? Are there multiple pages found similar to the real one?
- Check to see if people have left reviews of the business on the page. Are people listing they are satisfied with the business?
“If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is—no matter if it’s in-person, over the internet, or otherwise,” said Commissioner Presley. “With new ways to search for deals and sales online and through Facebook and other social media, there is an opportunity to connect people in communities about what neighbors and others around the area have for sale. But it also presents the prime opportunity for scams and scammers to prey on folks just trying to get a good deal.”
Commissioner Presley continued: “I recommend doing a Google search and verifying the information matches search results, like the dealership’s website or other legitimate websites. And as we regularly advise on all scams, never give personal information over the phone, through Facebook, or on suspicious websites. And if they’re asking for money to be sent over the phone, through social media, or on the internet, that’s also another sign it could be a scam activity. Be alert and vigilant.”
If you have been a victim of this scam with a monetary loss, please report it to your local authorities or to Commissioner Presley’s office. To report a scam to Commissioner Presley’s office, please call 1-800-637-7722.