Auto Buying Scams: Buyer Beware
The MSN Auto Protection scam is a type of advanced fee fraud that cybercriminals use on auto buying Web sites like MSN Autos.
Most Internet users have probably seen e-mail scams (usually from foreign countries) that include promises of large amounts of money in return for a small initial payment. This is called advanced fee fraud, and every year, victims lose money to this scam and often inadvertently turn their personal information over to cybercriminals.
The MSN Auto Protection scam is a type of advanced fee fraud that cybercriminals use on auto buying Web sites like MSN Autos. Here's how it works:
The cybercriminal offers a car for sale (often at a very low price) and when a buyer makes contact, the cybercriminal offers to sell the car using an escrow or third-party payment service such as "MSN Auto Protection Plan" or "MSN Money." The cybercriminal claims that these services protect buyers because the payment for the car is held safely until the car is delivered. The problem is that there is no "MSN Auto Protection Plan" and MSN Money is not a third-party payment service.
Note: Third-party payment services (such as PayPal) do exist. For more information, see How to use third-party payment services.
The cybercriminal then sends a spoofed e-mail message to the buyer that appears to come from MSN. The buyer sends a payment, but never receives the car. Like the Microsoft Lottery scam and other scams that use the Microsoft name fraudulently, cybercriminals use the Microsoft logo and even copy language that you might see in genuine Microsoft e-mail messages.
To read more about how this scam works in the United Kingdom, see Warning: MSN Cars Vehicle Purchase Protection Program FRAUD.
To learn how to protect yourself from other types of fraud, see:
- Reduce the risk of online fraud
- How to recognize phishing e-mails or links
- Phishing scams that target activities, interests or news events
- How to recognize spoofed Web sites
Must-See on MSN
Alot of buyers on here make valid points. Many dealers ruin the reputation for alot of dealers. I am in the car business for 8 years now and have been a sales manager for the past year. The business has gotten extremely competetive and is definitly not what it used to be. Internet has changed the game drastically. People come in to my showroom loaded with information and sometimes know more about the vehicle than my sales reps (shame on me). Customers have access to all rebates and incentives. You can see what the dealers cost is and what others are paying for the same car . It is pretty much impossible to "rip off" the average consumer. I truly beleive that if you treat the customer right and show passion and effort to really help someone, it will make you a succesfull sales rep. I actually get at my sales reps when they get too pushy with customers and remind them that this is a big purchase for the average buyer and to be sympathetic to that fact. But you have to admit that the customers are no angels. Alot of times a customer lies MUCH more than the dealer. There is a differene between negotiating and being an aggressive shopper and just lying and being unrealistic. Customers will lie about a price they got elsewhere, lie about the history and condition of their trade, lie about their credit history or that someone they know paid cheaper. I also beleive that customers cornered dealers into using these "tactis" and "scams". People like to play games, like no matter how low of a number I offer, even if im truly losing thousands of dollars and completely blowing the car out, the customers answer is always the same, " O NO THATS WAY TOO MUCH, SUCH AND SUCH OFFERED ME 2000 LESS. You guys tell us to play it straight and just give you the best numbers without the back and forth...that never works, you always feel like we are making thousands of dollars on every transaction. In 2012 the average profit on a new car sale is around $300. Customers will come in with an ad that says "lease for $169" but when their payment goes to 300 because their credit is destroyed they run out screaming "bait and switch" "they are scammers". They will get your best pricing and come back 2 months later expecting the same deal, after the manufacturer changed all rebates and ended certain sales and once again the dealer is lying. When we say this deal is good for a limited amount of time...thats not a scam. I sell Nissan and i have a 1000 rebate until the end of the month. If I quote you today and you come back next month, that price is going to be 1000 more than quoted. Than you tell all your friends that Im a thief and trie dovercharging you. Thats like getting mad at macys because their 30% off sale ended and you didnt make it in time. I know I probobly sound like a bitter sales person but its a two way street. Consumers definitly have a big part in the way this business is these days but you dont ever hear that side of the story because the customer is always right, right. End of rant.