Intelligence Note

Prepared by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

March 5, 2009

Fake Military Twist On Vehicle Sale Scams

The FBI continues to receive reports of individuals victimized while attempting to purchase vehicles via the Internet. Victims find attractively priced vehicles advertised at different Internet classified ad sites. Most of the scams include some type of third-party vehicle protection program to ensure a safe transaction. After receiving convincing e-mails from the phony vehicle protection program, the victims are directed to send either the full payment, or a percentage of the payment, to the third-party agent via a wire payment service. No vehicles are delivered to the victims.

In a new twist, scammers are posing as members of the United States military. The fictitious military personnel in the scam have either been sent to a foreign country to improve military relations, or they need to sell a vehicle quickly and cheaply because of their upcoming deployment to either Iraq or Afghanistan.

Consumers are advised to do as much due diligence as possible before engaging in transactions to purchase vehicles advertised online. Consumers are also cautioned to be aware of the rules of or warnings posted by the Internet sites they visit. If someone is asking a consumer to break or avoid the rules of the Web site, it is possible that person is trying to scam you.

If you have fallen victim to this type of scam, please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at