Better Business Bureau warns classic car buyer to steer clear of scams

Published 7:11 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2024

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The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Central and South Alabama is issuing a warning to consumers about a surge in reports of fake classic car and heavy equipment websites scamming individuals. The fraudulent sites are tricking buyers into losing substantial sums of money, with Alabamians falling victim to car dealer scams originating from other states. Below are three recent examples highlighting the severity of these scams:

Crystal Dealership, Miami, FL
A consumer reported losing $25,000 to Crystal Dealership, located in Miami, FL. The scammer, using the email and phone number (305) 600-0850, tricked the consumer into wiring the money after signing a contract for a vehicle that was never delivered. After the transfer, all communication ceased, and the scammer continued to list the vehicle online as available.
JJ Auto Sales, Salt Lake City, UT
A consumer reported losing $36,000 to JJ Auto Sales in Salt Lake City, UT. The scammer, using the email and phone number (385) 327-7424, agreed on a price for a vehicle that was supposed to be delivered. After the delivery date passed, the scammer blocked the consumer’s phone number.
Faith Auto Brokers, Lebanon, MO
A consumer reported losing $27,000 to Faith Auto Brokers, located in Lebanon, MO. The scammer, using the email and phone number (417) 685-1522, convinced the consumer to wire the money after signing various documents, including a bill of sale and dealer license. The vehicle was never delivered, and all communication ceased once the money was transferred.

The scams typically involve fraudsters creating fake websites that mimic legitimate classic car dealerships. They often steal photos, contact information, and even vehicle identification numbers (VIN) from authentic sellers to deceive potential buyers.

Key Findings:

Online vehicle dealer scam reports to BBB Scam Tracker have surged in 2023.
Scammers increasingly rely on fake websites, stealing information from legitimate sellers.
Classic car buyers are particularly targeted with offers of rare cars at too-good-to-be-true prices.
Fake vehicle history reports have risen over the last three years.
Close to 700 BBB Scam Tracker reports on fraudulent vehicle sales, escrow scams, and fake vehicle reports.
$12,600 average loss in fraudulent vehicle sale and escrow scams.
An estimated $45 million lost in fake vehicle report scams with an estimated $6 million lost by Alabama consumers looking to buy a classic auto.

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BBB Tips for Buying a Vehicle Online:

View the Vehicle in Person: Whenever possible, inspect the vehicle personally or send a trusted friend or family member.
Be Wary of Too-Good-To-Be-True Prices: If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Do not electronically transfer a deposit or any money, pay with a Cashiers Check in person if possible.
Opt for Vehicle Pickup: Choose to pick up the vehicle in person rather than opting for delivery and pay at the time of delivery with a Cashiers Check.
Resist High-Pressure Sales Tactics: Be cautious of sellers urging quick action.
Use Approved VIN Lookup Websites: Verify the vehicle’s history using only approved Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) lookup websites.
Visit to check out a business or register a complaint, BBB Scam Tracker to report a scam and for more on this and other scams.

To schedule an interview with members of BBB Serving Central and South Alabama in Birmingham please contact CEO, Carl Bates at or 205-558-2219.  For Mobile, Baldwin Counties or Montgomery you can contact Vice President of the BBB CSAL Education, Monde Donaldson at 251-300-3388 or at