Another day, another scam to warn people about. Yesterday, I wrote about the fake kidnapping phone scam (seriously). This one isn't as scary, but it's just as shady. According to the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota, scammers are now creating fake shipping companies that will request money in return for the delivery of a vehicle. In what shouldn't shock you, the vehicle never arrives.


More than 20 fake shipping companies have been discovered since this summer, including right here in Rochester. So how does this scam work?

It starts with a listing for a cheap vehicle on websites like Craigslist, and is usually sold by a woman who offers a sob story about why she desperately needs to sell her vehicle as quickly as possible. The biggest red flag? You can't see the vehicle before you buy it, because it's "in storage". In order to buy the vehicle, you're referred to the fake shipping company, who will then take your payment before vanishing forever.

So yeah, it sounds like a pretty obvious scam, but you never know. The BBB offers the following tips for people buying cars online:

- Insist on meeting the seller and examining the vehicle
- Research the shipping company to make sure they're real
- Check for errors on the company's website, and look at the domain registration
- Make sure the company has a U.S. Department of Transportation motor carrier number

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