myFOXaustin.com (AUSTIN,TX)- A new Craigslist scam has one Central Texas car dealership fighting to keep its reputation clean. The scammers posted hundreds of false car ads under the dealerships name for a fraction of what they cost.
It's been quite a mess for Roger Beasley Mazda to clean-up. The Georgetown car dealer started getting phone call after phone call after these scammers activated their fake ads on Craigslist.
Here's how the scam may have trapped its victims: They lifted and manipulated a template the dealership uses to advertise on Craiglist.
They offer a too good to be true deal, gently used cars at a fraction of the cost. The reason for the good deal, the scammer claims he's a Sgt in the Air Force and here's what he says to pull on your heart strings.
"I've got a sister who has a medical emergency. I'm selling it at well below cost because, it's an emergency. I have to sell it as soon as possible," said General Manager Chuck Kainer.
To sweeten the deal, the scammer also says he will ship the vehicle for free, on an Air Force cargo plane, right to your home. All he needs is a wire transfer to an ebay attorney in Spain. Sound familiar?
Since the scam started days ago, the phones at the dealership have been going crazy, and Kainer said he's going into over-drive to save the dealerships reputation, placing a fraud alert banner on their web site.
"It's own name associated with something that is not ours. It's not something we are representing. So we want it to go away," said Kainer.
There's no word yet on how many people have fallen victim to this scam. Kainer said he's had to manually red flag each fake ad on Craigslist to get them off the site. We contacted Craigslist late this evening for comment, and we are still waiting for a comment back.
In the meantime, the Better Business Bureau sent out a warning to consumers. The BBB claims the wire transfer schemes are the most popular and successful internet scams out there, with more than $144 million stolen through wire transfers in 2010 alone. The reason they are so successful, they play on your emotions and trick you into thinking a too good to be true deal is for real.
"I would advise any consumer purchasing anything through craigslist, to use extreme caution. Unfortunately, it's very very common for scammers to take advantage of the popularity that craiglist, ebay and Facebook are generating, because consumers are on there all day long," said BBB spokeswoman Lydia Hekman.
The BBB is working with Roger Beasley Mazda to help the dealership in this unfortunate situation.