EMPORIA, Kan. (KAKE) - The BBB warns of imposter website scams using legitimate business names and locations on fake websites to steal money.

The Better Business Bureau has found a fake website for German's Auto Sales Inc. in Emporia, Kansas that the legitimate business says they have nothing to do with. The website www.germans-autosales.com uses the business name and lists the actual address of the legitimate BBB accredited business to accept money for vehicles they do not possess. 

A Scam Tracker report submitted by the owner of German's Auto Sales Inc. started a BBB investigation which found that the domain www.germans-autosales.com, is privately owned from somewhere in the Netherlands.

The BBB strongly advises using caution when purchasing vehicles online and to check the legitimacy of the website before making any purchases.

BBB offers the following tips to avoid online car sales scams:

  • Watch out for too-good-to-be-true deals. They are most likely a scam. Scammers often steal consumers’ personal information and money by offering them high-value goods at extremely discounted prices.
  • Never wire funds or complete bank-to-bank transactions. Scammers love this kind of transaction because there is no way for you to get your money back once it is completed. Instead, make legitimate purchases by check or credit card.
  • Contact the seller by phone. At some point during your negotiations, speak with the sales manager on the phone. If they are unusually vague about certain details of the sale or cannot confirm their location or the vehicle location, it’s most likely a scam.
  • See the car first. Never buy a car without making an in-person inspection and taking a test drive first.
  • Don’t give in to pressure. Scammers often try to pressure you into giving up your personal information or making a down payment before you have time to think about the purchase. Take your time and think a deal over before agreeing to anything. If you get a bad feeling, listen to your gut.

Don’t trust a seller or buyer who says that the transaction is guaranteed by eBay, PayPal, Craigslist, or another online marketplace. These sites explicitly explain they cannot guarantee that people using their services are legitimate. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.