Consumer Alert: Beware of scam targeting online car sales

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - If you're in the market for a new car and browsing online, proceed with caution. There is a new scam to be on the lookout for.

"The scam is pretty basic," says U.S. Postal Inspector David Reardon. "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 says. "The people who think they are buying it is sending money to someone who has created a fictitious business."

Victims end wiring money to the con artists' bank accounts. After that, It's gone. No money. No car. It's 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 says.

Here's a few things you need to remember when buying online:

Do your research

Know how 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

"You've got people who save their money who are trying to get ahead and here they are out everything," Reardon says.

If you believe you've been a victim of fraud, you can file a complaint on the postal inspector's website.

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