Chicago P.D. Issues Online Car Buying Scam Warning   

Scam Alert

The Chicago Police Department is warning car dealers nationwide about a scam involving online car buying and identity theft.  

In the notice you can also read here: 

The Chicago PD has notified car dealers that they should exercise extraordinary diligence in verifying the identity of customers who attempt to purchase vehicles via the Internet and have them shipped to the Chicagoland area (which includes the city of Chicago, its suburbs, and Northern Indiana).

Law enforcement is seeing an epidemic of vehicles being purchased via identity theft and shipped to the Chicago area from around the country.  The vehicles are usually valued at $50,000 or more, and the transactions usually start via an Internet search.  Credit applications and other paperwork are either filled out online or sent to the dealership via FedEx after they are requested to be sent to an address in the Chicago area (often times a vacant building). The offenders create a phony email account in the victim’s name as well as a fake driver’s license with the victim’s information, and they use Google Voice or other applications whose phone numbers are not traceable.

The offenders often times seek to arrange their own transportation for the vehicles to be shipped.  This is an elaborate scheme that can be stopped if dealerships conduct a thorough examination of online loan applications and related paperwork and institute a waiting period before shipping the vehicle.  This will help protect both the dealership and innocent persons whose identities are being stolen.  In every incident that has been investigated, there are several red flags that the dealership should have caught prior to shipping the vehicle.

If you have information, questions or concerns, please contact Sgt. Keith A. Blair, Commanding Officer, Chicago Major Auto Theft, Investigative Unit, Central Investigations Division. 

For more details check out this Automotive News article.

Photo Credit: karen roach/Shutterstock

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