(MARCH 23, 2023) - The Maine Attorney General's office has learned of an active online scam involving the fraudulent sale of used and/or antique motor vehicles where scammers are using the names of Maine businesses and individuals associated with those businesses to advertise vehicles for sale and to get unwitting buyers to wire thousands of dollars for vehicles they will never receive.
The scammers are registering fraudulent website domains using the names of these Maine businesses and are using email addresses associated with those domains. Although they do not appear to be physically based in Maine, the scammers are using phone numbers with 207 area codes. The scammers are also using documents that appear legitimate, including Bills of Sale with details about the vehicles and VIN numbers. The scammers are using accounts at major U.S. banks to receive funds.
Consumers have reported wiring thousands of dollars believing they are purchasing vehicles from a Maine business. After the money has been received, the scammers may continue to communicate about the delivery of the vehicle. Once consumers express concern about the transaction, the scammers may provide excuses that sound plausible, and they may even provide tracking information or other details about the delivery. However, eventually the scammers will cease communicating and the vehicle will never arrive.
At this time, the Maine Attorney General's office does not believe that any Maine business or individual is associated with this scam.
If you believe you may be a victim of this scam, we strongly encourage you to submit a consumer complaint to the Maine Attorney General's office using the online form available at https://www.maine.gov/ag/consumer/complaints/complaint_form.shtml">https://www.maine.gov/ag/consumer/complaints/complaint_form.shtml">https://www.maine.gov/ag/consumer/complaints/complaint_form.shtml and to file a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at https://www.ic3.gov.">https://www.ic3.gov">https://www.ic3.gov.
If you have concerns about a similar transaction that you are currently considering and that appears to involve a business based in Maine, please contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Maine Attorney General's office immediately at (207) 626-8849.