FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 20, 2022
PIERRE, S.D. – The Office of the South Dakota Chief Attorney General, the Consumer Protection Division, and South Dakota Department of Revenue Secretary Michael Houdyshell are warning consumers to be aware of fraudulent websites that have been established to mimic active South Dakota Dealerships. To date two dealerships in the state have been targeted by these criminals.
Consumers purchasing motor vehicles are being targeted when going through well-known sites such as Craigs List, carsforsale.com and other internet forums. The scammers impersonate active South Dakota dealerships, setting up fake websites, posting stock photos of vehicles and discounted prices to entice potential victims. When asked for additional photos, the scammers will conduct video calls and have a YouTube channel established with videos of the vehicles available for sale.
Additionally, scammers forward images of fake titles and doctored documents to the potential customer.
Individuals wanting to purchase vehicles from this site are asked to wire a deposit. The South Dakota Consumer Protection Division has received calls from multiple consumers outside of the state that have been scammed out of thousands of dollars.
The South Dakota Department of Revenue’s motor vehicle division has received inquiries regarding the legitimacy of motor vehicle titles and active dealers. The department urges consumers to take caution when reviewing titles associated with these websites and warns individuals not to transfer funds unless they have physically seen the vehicle. If you have questions regarding the legitimacy of a South Dakota vehicle title, contact the motor vehicle division by phone at 605-773-3541.
Consumers are reminded that the dealers are also the victims and have done nothing wrong, in addition all buyers are encouraged to check all aspects of any site before agreeing to do business online. Just because the address listed is legitimate does not guarantee the purchase or documents are.
Anyone who has fallen victim to this scam is encouraged to contact the Consumer Protection Division in their state, South Dakota consumers can reach Consumer Protection at 800-300-1986 or 605-773-4400.