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Fraud Awareness

Internet fraud is a growing problem and websites such as autobytel.com are not immune to such problems. We have received reports that Internet scam artists are illegally using Autobytel’s name, logo and other proprietary property in connection with the operation of fraudulent websites claiming to provide automotive escrow services offered by Autobytel. This scam involves the purported sale of vehicles that the perpetrators of the scam do not own or have the rights to sell and that are listed for sale on third party websites not affiliated with Autobytel. Among other things, the scammers claim that Autobytel will escrow money for the purchase of a vehicle and deliver the vehicle to the purchaser.

Autobytel does not provide any vehicle escrow, warehousing or shipping or delivery services, and any website or seller of vehicles claiming that Autobytel offers such services is fraudulent.

Because there is no foolproof way to prevent fraud, awareness is the best defense. Please exercise a great deal of caution and common sense in all transactions involving the sale of vehicles over the internet where you have not personally inspected the vehicle, met the seller and confirmed the seller’s ownership of and right to sell the vehicle. If any purported vehicle seller suggests using an escrow service operated by or affiliated with Autobytel or directs the buyer to any website offering escrow services provided by Autobytel or any person or entity affiliated with Autobytel or that displays our name or logos or otherwise implies that the services are offered by Autobytel, do NOT send any money to that service. Please help stop this fraud by promptly reporting such communications to us and to law enforcement by taking the following steps:

  • Step 1: Email us at consumercareabtl@autoweb.com with as much information about your particular situation as possible. Provide us your name and telephone number so that we can contact you to obtain additional information. Forward any emails or other communications with the seller to us without changing the subject line or sending it as an attachment
  • Step 2: File a complaint with the operator of the website where you found the advertisement for the vehicle.
  • Step 3: File a complaint with the Internet Fraud Complaint Center [http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx] to inform federal and state law enforcement agencies about this scam. We strongly recommend that you report fraud to local law enforcement as well and to state regulatory authorities that regulate escrow companies in your state. In California, complaints regarding fraudulent escrow services can be filed with the Department of Business Oversight [http://www.dbo.ca.gov/]

The following resources provide information and tips about Internet fraud and how to avoid becoming a victim of such fraud.

Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC)

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) OnGuardOnline.gov

California Department of Business Oversight