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Steering clear of vehicle history report scams

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The FTC has been hearing about a new scam targeting people who are selling their cars online. They’re getting calls or texts from people who claim to be interested in buying the car – but first want to see a car history report. They ask the seller to get the report from a specific website, where the seller needs to enter some information and pay about $20 by credit card for the report. The seller then sends it to the supposed buyer but never hears back. Weird, huh?


Well, it gets weirder. When the car sellers go to one of these websites, they’re automatically redirected to sites ending in ‘.vin’ – which seems like it might be related to your car’s vehicle identification number or VIN, right? Scammers hope you’ll think that, but no. In this case, .vin is a relatively new website “domain” – like .com or .org – that groups can apply to use. This domain was intended to be used for sites that relate to wine, since “vin” is the French word for wine, but others are not prevented from using it. So yes, that’s a clever take on .vin for cars, yes, but you still might want to think twice if anyone asks you to do car-related business on a site ending in .vin.


So, if you are selling a car online and someone asks you to get a car history report from a specific site, ask why and think twice. You may have no way of knowing who operates the site, especially if it’s one you’ve never heard of. It might be a ruse to get your personal information, including your credit card account number. It also could be a way for companies called “lead generators” to get information, which they sell to third parties for advertising and marketing purposes.


Your best bet: play it safe. Go to for information on vehicle history reports, recall notices, and how to learn whether a car has been declared salvage. For example, the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) operates, which lists NMVTIS-approved providers of vehicle history reports. Not all vehicle history reports are available through the NMVTIS website. Reports from other providers sometimes have additional information, like accident and repair history.


Whether you’re familiar with a company or not, it’s always helpful to see what other people are saying online. Simply enter the name of the company, and words like “complaint,” “review,” “rating,” or “scam.”


To get more information like this, sign up for the FTC's Consumer Information Updates.


Thanks. This was very informative.

Very helpful, incisive and clear.

Good info

Very useful

Thanks for this timely information as I am planning to buy a used car and this is very helpful. You provide a great service to us because the crooks never give up!

Great work I was just contacted by a guy with a Pennsylvania phone number about the Suburban I have for sale and he asked me to get a report at nocrashinfo. com how do I report him? I have his phone number.

Same PA guy just tried me too

Good thing I checked. Got I think the same dude from Pennsylvania.

Also , although rare, I did get a report from one of the most trusted sites, and the car I was going to buy was listed as clean; no problems whatsoever.

That was good info for me as I was ready to buy. However, Im a very careful person and got the idea to call the Car Makers (Toyota) who were very obliging in telling me as much as they knew about this car. Including where I could get service history and where it was serviced. Again very happy to hear. However, as I mentioned, I then asked the agent, "are you SURE there is nothing on this car?" and he said: "no its clean." But then hesitated, said, 'wait a minute' and then said: "Oh I"M so sorry, this car is a write off! " I asked him how this information could have been missed. HE said , well there was one button on his screen he had forgotten to push. How? I dont know. We are all human I guess. I didn't buy the car. Whew!

Great to know - and remember...thanks for the info

Thanks, Very Helpful

I bought a used car from a dealer a year ago,my credit score was 783 no late cc payments for 11 uears.They lied and told me ally was the old gmac financing co.When I took delivery I investigated and found the kickback connection between ally and the dealer.I refinanced online with my banks online service at 4.44% instead of 10% that they had used,saving 5.56%.I searched carfax with the vin and found several cars with the exact vin in other states.Sounds like a double case of fraud.

You can report that to the FTC at The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

Very good news to know. Thanks.

I am getting calls from Becca at Honda. They have my dealership name, and are very interested in me "selling" my car to them. I have a new car. First thing I did was plug in the number I am receiving the calls from...not from the Honda dealership. Sent the manager the message, no "Beca's" working there.
We have to be careful all the time.

Really helpful, I just started to selling my car for the first time ever and I got dozens of these texts or emails about going to some random website. I don't respond at all.

received an SMS from 661-577-1291 with this scam. The link I was texted redirected to myautohistoryreport. com which solicits $14.99 for a report -- but their sample report is a copy/ripoff of the free vehiclehistory. com. The linked site had referral codes so that the scammer could get his share of people he suckers. Caveat Venditor!

What about the usefulness of reporting the phone number of the scammer on the car history reports? I checked the one I got today and it was from Santa Monica, CA, was suggesting the phony website for the car history. Will reporting those calls make any difference in slowing down or stopping that type of scam?

What this article describes just happened to me this morning! From craigslist I got "ryan" who seems like an interested buyer, but says please contact my actual email, not via craigslist mail bc "craigslist isn't giving me all my messages." In hindsight, a red flag but I fell for it. In seconds "ryan" emailed a link to a vin site, which thankfully I didn't use. Thanks for article.

This happened to me and others in my city. The scam jumps to another level if you are as dumb as me and pay for the report. The next step is trying to get you to co-sign a loan or find someone who will as they of course really want your car. I’ve reported it all and have let everyone know but it’s still very annoying. Hope this helps someone to not do it.

I need my all bank account and car sistem stop I have not key not me driving car

This is being done for motorcycles too. I've gotten requests from 2 different people about buying my motorcycle and getting a report. I was immediately suspicious and when I clicked on the link they gave me, my computer gave me a warning notice about the site.

I’m in middle of one of these scams now. Posted vehicle on Craigslist. Chris Douglas responds thru e-mail his address (douglaschris 958@ gmail. com) asking if vehicle is still available. I respond yes and he responds he wants a VIN searcg through vehicle. note. com. I respond telling him there are free sites where one can get a VIN report, but he responds saying vehicle. note. com is the only one he trusts and he will re-imburse me for search when he comes and pays cash for vehicle. Obvious scam.

I have gotten several of them. I tell them VIN is listed and they are welcome to run a report themselves.

Person texts me from 786-377-6128 says they want to buy vehicle but want a report from instantautohistory(dot)com first. When I say no, but welcome to come see it, they get defensive saying they are about to give me thousands of dollars and it is not unreasonable to ask. I say fine, will pull one from carfax when he gets here in person. Guy disappears!

Just happened to my wife tonite. Told her it’s a scam.

I'm in the middle of this scam now. I have a car for sale on Craigslist. 1st email comes through Craigslist system, asking for personal email for her husband. I ask for his telephone number. Then email comes from joelsousa 69@ lycos. com not giving his telephone # but saying his lender needs VIN report from https:// www. infocarfacts. com. That site wants $24.95 by entering c/c # with 3 digit code, and does not offer PayPal. The lack of Paypal made me suspicious. Glad I saw this warning site.

Yep! I got the same email from "Victoria" via Craig's List asking for my email so her uncle could ask me about my car. I created a gmail account to deal with selling my car so I gave her that and then got an email from joel sousa69 @ gmail. He asked me to pull the car report from which claims to be powered by Experian, but doesn't have an affiliation with them. He was emailing me at weird times too (3-4:00 am usually) which is another huge red flag.

Got an email going with the same email right now.

WOW, this joelsousa guy is really not stopping. I just an email from him my car posted in craigslist! It started off with a person asking for my "direct email" and then this joelsousa replying that he wants to look at the car, asking whether it has any issues like suspension, or leaking oil etc. Waiting for his VIN check scam email right now. Oh my god these fraudulent scammers need to be caught!

This scam is alive and well apparently because I just had a text string going with a potential buyer and searched for the site he was asking for and found this web page of info on the ploy. Thank you for posting this information. VIN's are public information and a buyer can pull these reports themselves on their dime.

this just happened to me while trying to sell my car. I had a gut feeling because they were so pushy about using this website.
I gave them a carfax report and they replied "I believe you misunderstood.. I can't use a report from a different company. My lender require a report from the website mentioned in my previous email.

To be able to come , see , test and make a deal for it face to face , I need the report so I can pass it to my loan officer and make sure he will allow me to buy it . I need the report because the loan company ask for it .please go to https:// www. infocarfacts. com/ and get one . will not make sense for me to get one because I can`t re use it like you can , you will be able to give it to all you potential buyers , me on the other hand if will not be ok I will gave to look for a new vehicle and get a new report .
I know is only $24.99 but if I have to run 5 reports until I find an ok report where will I be ? if the report will be ok you can consider it sold . Thank You! P.S if is about the money I will add the $25 to the final price" after being very pushy only using that specific website.

I just got the exact same email from someone names Thomas with a Lycos email address. Like verbatim! Ugh!! I called him out on his BS though!

Just happened to me today. Got a phone call and a text trying to get me to pay for a vehicle check for my motorcycle. How do we report the phone number? I never got any emails at all. It was all text.

It was also quite obviously not a bot. It was someone who had read my post and referenced by city and the model of my bike. Even texted me a link of a site that at first looked super legit but didn't exist when I googled it.

OMG!! I posted a car for sale on Craigslist and I received a message TODAY with the same exact verbage!! He ( or she) wanted me to get a VIN report from a site they wanted. I cannot believe they use the same message over and over. Isn't there some way to catch these idiots???

Thanks for the useful inform. It has also just happened to me. They asked me to visit a website to buy a title report. Fortunately, Bank of America had placed a hold on this transaction. I thought there was something wrong, so I google for it. Thanks for your inform again!

I just got an email and text messages from a Ryan 916-536-6643. Wants me to get a car history from Told him to take a hike.

So helpful. Sending many thanks. I listed a car today and within 5 minutes received a text to go to a site, etc....exactly as you said. Fortunately I found this posting before I replied as follows: Sorry fella. It's a scam, so scram.

Hi i been listening to a guy trying t ooffer cash and telling me hel come by ....all by text ...after a few text and trying to get me trust like any scamer he text me from a local # i let him exhaust his story and played his game......BE AWARE OF ...GAR...AUTO REPORTS....DO NOT BUY INTO SCAM AND LIES...GAR AUTO REPORTS CONTRACTS THEESE LOWLIFE ...SCAM BAGS TO GET 20$ TO A NON EXISTENT REPORT BE AWARE OF GAR....

Just got a text from our friend “Ryan” at 916-536-6643 telling me he was interested in a car on Craigslist then sent a link to a vehicle history site, which was obviously suspicious. So after a quick google search I found this article and a few others. Don’t get scammed by “Ryan”. He is getting a kick back from the vehicle history audit website every time someone clicks on his link.

I'm selling an SUV and I got a text from this number (213) 261-0588 and he is obviously a crook who was so pushy for me to go to this scam website WWW.GETAUTOREPORT.COM and get a report about my suv to send to him and as soon as I googled the website I found out that it's a huge scam so watch out.

I got a text from the same number wanting me to go to I refused and instead provided him a screenshot of my car's CarFax and he went dark. Sadly, people fall for this stuff, otherwise they wouldn't try.

I'm trying to sell my truck on craigslist. Got a text from Vince who sent a link to Told him to purchase his own report. Thanks for this really informative article.

vehicle reports. net put two $18.95 charges on my Capital One Visa card in addition to the $1 fee I authorized for one vehicle report. I contacted Capital One and the were promptly removed. Had I not noticed them I would have been out $37.90. Lesson: Don't use vehicle reports. net

A person with email address blaine carey @ contacted me to buy my car that I posted on Craigslist. In second email, he/she requested to get a car history report from www. cars infocheck. com as required by the lending officer.
Each report costs $24.95. Once you provide the report you won't hear the "buyer". Please beware of such email and this website.

It is 100% a scam – if anyone reading this paid for this so called “report” then you need to call your card company, report the charge as unauthorized and get a new CC number.

If you are selling a car online and someone is interested in buying the car, you should never have to pay for any kind of report. Real buyers will be happy to call you and discuss the sale over the phone – do not take checks or money orders, very common scamming practices.

I’d take cash or a cashier’s check – wouldn’t even do PayPal or any other online money transfer option (common scamming tactic).

213-261-0588 tried the same scame with me.

Had the same from this number yesterday 8/5/2019 he's still at it.

Be very cautious I have already delt with two suggesting websites for history reports and they’ll even tell you “ im not gonna pay thousands of dollars without a vehicle report, their very rude but just expect the worst and it wont surprise you while selling you’re vehicle, one of the websites is usedvehicleinfo . Com , Good Luck!

Pretty sure everyone knows this scam...they’ll offer to send you a check to you’re address for the exact amount you asked plus the tow for the truck... weird right but gets worse the check will bounce close out you’re account for sure, or the tow truck driver will hand you the check themselves and leave immediately with you’re car which is a gift at that point to them lol Good Luck !


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