Online shopping tools for vehicles have been a boon for both consumers and dealers. The exact trim level or best price can be found with just a little research and an out of the way dealer can draw foot traffic they normally wouldn't see. An ingenious Internet scam out of New Mexico however, serves as a stark reminder that when actually purchasing large ticket items online, buyers beware.
A dummy website, set up to look like a dealership that closed years ago, was taking deposits on vehicles online, according to KRQE. One Canadian couple thought they had found their dream Cadillac Escalade on Alvarez Auto Sale's website. They paid a large deposit on the vehicle and then flew down to Albuquerque to pick it up.
When the couple took a cab ride to the dealership from the airport they found that the address was actually for Outwest Auto Corral. The closed dealership was even still showing up on Google Maps as an open business. The owner of the new dealership wasn't involved in the scheme.
In a 26-hour period thousands of dollars were transferred as 15 more people fell for the same scam involving fake dealer sites.
While doing the homework on buying a new car make sure you do the homework on the dealer as well. The Alvarez Auto Sales site has now been removed from major car shopping sites but when using these sites it's best to use caution with dealerships that are far away or unfamiliar.
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