Delaware Attorney General warning of fraud in online car buying

Scam Alert

DELAWARE – Attorney General Kathy Jennings and the Delaware Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Unit are warning consumers about several fraudulent and problematic practices in online car sales.

The unit says one of their concerns is that companies never deliver the cars that the consumer purchased. Officials say this usually happens when a consumer locates someone online to be a dealership selling a vehicle. After never receiving the vehicle, the consumer learns that the dealer they had been communicating with does not actually exist. Another concern is sellers lying about the quality of their cars. Sometimes cars purchased online are in worse condition than advertised. Officials say without the benefit of an in-person inspection, consumers are left to rely on pictures and other disclosures that may be false.

“As the pandemic, hopefully, continues to wane, demand for cars is skyrocketing. This high demand for vehicles has created an opportunity for scammers to exploit Delaware consumers looking to purchase a car. Consumers should exercise caution when purchasing a car online, particularly when they lack the ability or opportunity to inspect that car before the purchase. If you’ve been defrauded, resources are available to help. Call our consumer protection hotline at (800) 220-5424,” said Attorney General Jennings.

Officials say other issues include:

  • Online car sellers not being licensed to sell vehicles
  • Delaware consumers not receiving the title to a purchased vehicle in a timely manner

And to protect yourself, officials urge that you:

  • Exercise caution when purchasing a car online.
  • If you can’t physically inspect the car, arrange for a mechanic to inspect the vehicle.
  • Confirm that the dealer is licensed with Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles.
  • Look up reviews on  the dealer through websites like the Better Business Bureau.
  • Confirm that any seller you purchase from has physical possession of the title.
  • Ask to see the title so you can confirm VIN on the title matches the vehicle you are purchasing.
Categories: Check It Out, Crime, Delaware, Local News