'Tis the season most of us are out buying holiday gifts. Beware, though, if you are in the market for a big ticket item. The 2NEWS Investigators uncovered an expensive warning.
Imagine finding the car of your dreams online for a great price. Before you click "buy" proceed with caution.
U.S. Postal Inspector David Reardon says, "The scam is pretty basic - we're offering you something - but it's not there."
Here's how it works: pictures are posted online. The supposed seller, though, doesn't actually own the car.
"What happens is the vehicle is never owned by the person selling it - the people who think they are buying it is sending money to someone who has created a fictitious business."
Victims end up wiring money to bank accounts and then it is gone. No money and no car. One hazard of the anonymous world of internet commerce.
"It just takes that extra step to be cautious to make sure you know what you're getting into and really need to kick the tires when making that purchase."
Consumers need to remember when buying online:
+Do your research.
+Know who you're dealing with and what you're purchasing.
+Understand the terms and costs involved in a sale.
+Credit cards offer buyers the most consumer protection.
"You've got people who save their money who are trying to get ahead and here they are out everything."
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, you can file a complaint on the government website at POSTALINSPECTORS.USPIS.gov
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Also in the headlines
Nine-year-old Ja'Nae Hornsby was one of seven children found in the Plaza Towers Elementary School rubble in Moore Monday after one of the worst tornadoes in Oklahoma history tore through the city, her father confirmed Tuesday.