OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The thrill of an auction can be an addicting and fun way to get prized possessions at a reasonable price.
But a new scam is taking advantage and has been popping up in the Sooner State.
As with most things in 2022, most auctions anymore are found online.
This has led to a fresh new fraud making the rounds.
“This is actually a really recent scam,” said Kitt Letcher, with the Better Business Bureau.
The BBB shared details with In Your Corner after reports of the “auction scam” started coming into their Oklahoma City office.
They say folks in search of varying vehicles were finding ads on social media which led to hard-to-miss auction deals.
“It’s taking you to a website where they’ve got pictures that they’ve essentially taken from legitimate websites,” Kitt explained. “So what we’re seeing is fake, essentially auction sites being built where people are bidding on cars, they’re winning cars, they’re giving out sensitive information and making payments.”
It’s a new spin on a tried and true digital scam.
Real used car and RV ads are being copied and used to make fake listings.
Gary Stevenson has been patiently waiting to sell his American Revolution RV with a listed price at just under $190,000.
Recently, though, he received a message online.
“Somebody contacted me through R-V Trader, inquiring about my [RV] and said it was for sale on an auction website, a repossession website,” Gary explained. “Sure enough, pulled it up, there’s my ad. Copied and pasted from R-V Trader, all the pictures and everything listed for sale on there.”
The fake auctioneer advertised they were based out of Oklahoma City.
It turns out, Gary’s RV had been sold through the suspect site, for less than a quarter of his posted price.
The buyer though, thankfully, found Gary’s real ad before it was too late.
“[The buyer] contacted me through R-V Trader and said he was actually the winning bidder,” he said. “I told him I’m glad he hadn’t lost any money.”
The BBB has tips for folks who frequent the online auction space:
- Research the auction and auctioneers. If they claim to be a government auction, verify with the actual branch.
- Get to know the terms and conditions before the auction, so as to not fall victim to hidden fees.
- Don’t give in to bidder’s excitement, and watch that you don’t get sucked into a fake bidding war.
- Be extra careful with your personal information at checkout.
“[Victims] are giving, like, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, banking information,” said Kitt. “The bad part is, there’s really very little recourse in getting your money back.”
The BBB advises consumers to do reverse Google searches on photos, to find if the same vehicle has been posted elsewhere.
They also say to be wary of any auction site pushing for payment through apps like Zelle or CashApp.