Usually, when an online car buying scam goes down it’s for some beater car off Craigslist. One scammer decided to take his operation to another level by conning an exotic car dealer out of a 2014 Maserati GranTurismo selling for $81,900.
Here’s how the con worked, as reported by the Detroit Free Press. An Illinois man made off with a Maserati, according to Michigan police, by obtaining a fraudulent loan using someone else’s identification. Now the dealer is out a very fancy car and could be on the hook for the sales tax.
The police report states that the buyer contacted Maserati of Troy, MI after seeing an ad for the quite lovely two-door on Autotrader.com. He agreed to purchased the car for $81,900 and supposedly was able to acquire financing through Bank of America, paying $550 to have the car delivered. Extra tricky: he told the dealer that his neighborhood street was too small to accommodate a delivery truck and he wanted the car dropped at his local WalMart.
Even though the delivery arrangements were not typical of an exotic car buyer, the dealership was able to acquire a copy of his driver’s license and had an approval for his loan. However, once the car was gone, the dealership was contacted by Bank of America who informed the dealer that the buyer had used someone else’s identity to get the loan. The whole thing had been identity theft. The dealer also received a $1,026.40 check for the sales tax that it now suspects is probably fraudulent as well.
If anything, this incident further illustrates that when you list a car for sale online, you can never be too careful about the potential buyer. I’ve helped several clients purchase vehicles from dealers across the country and some of these stores require the customer to be there in person to finalize the sale.
It’s an inconvenience for the customer, sure, but it’s a safeguard against online scammers. Nobody is immune out there, from Craigslist sellers all the way up the chain.