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Rip-Off Alert: Bait and switch possible for online car buys

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 12/05/2012 5:25 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Imagine finding the car of your dreams online for a great price. But before you click "buy," proceed with caution.

“We saw ads for Aston Martin, Porsche, and Lexus automobiles,” said U.S. Postal Inspector David Reardon. "The scam is pretty basic: We're offering you something, but it's not there."

Here's how it works: Scam artists post pictures of cars for sale online -- but they don't actually own the car.

"What happens is the vehicle is never owned by the person selling it,” Reardon said. “The people who think they are buying it is sending money to someone who has created a fictitious business."

Victims end up wiring money to the con artists' bank accounts, and then it's gone. No money. No car. It is one hazard of the anonymous world of Internet commerce.

"It just takes that extra step to be cautious to make sure you know what you're getting into and really need to kick the tires when making that purchase,” Reardon said.

Consumers need to remember when buying online.

-- Do your research.
-- Know who you're dealing with and what you're purchasing.
-- Understand the terms and costs involved in a sale.
-- Credit cards offer buyers the most consumer protection.
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