Buying a vehicle? Better Business Bureau warns about online scams

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – It’s no longer just falling for those cut-rate discounts and glossy images when it comes to buying a used car.

Now, it’s pulling on your heartstrings — especially in Nebraska, says Josh Planos with the Better Business Bureau.

“I would reckon to say the folks in the midwest are a lot more trustworthy, a lot more trusting, than folks on either coast, and scammers are aware of that,” Planos said.

Scammers are aware of regional differences. They know what resonates to people in different markets, and they’re ready to make a killing if you let them.

“Folks are turning to sites like Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace, or even eBay to purchase vehicles,” Planos said.

And while Planos told 6 News that shopping online for a used car is not in and of itself a problem, the BBB is seeing a lot of scam potential in those markets. That’s why Planos says, step one, is to speak with a real person.

“I think it’s really important that you know there is a human being on the other end of the line, and that you can get them on the line, if needed.”

Also, make sure you see the car firsthand — and don’t give-in to threats.

“Pressure makes scams says Planos. Pressure gets people to believe things they otherwise wouldn’t,” he said.

That’s why it’s important for you to do your market research, know the make and model of the car you’re interested in buying, and always ask for the milage.

Try not to get bogged down by made-up stories either, Planos said.

“It’s just an easier sell, from a scammer’s perspective, if you can provide that emotional appeal and inject that distress into the conversation,” he said.

And whatever you do, don’t wire funds. There’s no built-in fraud protection, so once your money’s gone, it’s gone for good.

But if you find yourself a victim of a scam, Planos suggests you speak up. He said the Better Business Bureau cannot investigate potential scams if there’s no complaint.

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