The FBI in America has put out a warning to all eBay users about a man that they believe is behind a car scam on eBay that thus far has lost users £1.8m. The FBI also believes that there are six other men involved in the scheme which convinced users to pay for vehicles that never existed. Loretta Lynch, a US attorney, stated that the fraudsters thought their distance away from the victims would protect them from being chased by the law, but they were wrong.
Police believe that Romanian Nicolae Popescu is behind the scheme and put out a poster warning users about him and seeking his arrest. They plan to charge him with money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. George Venizelos, the FBI assistant director, stated that they used to siphon funds slowly from victims so that they could create more fake websites and identities in order to scheme even more people.
eBay released a statement explaining that they are working with law enforcement to make sure that consumers know about the danger of these scams that are taking advantage of the name recognition of eBay to fraud customers. The statement also added that auto shoppers can continue to make safe purchases via eBay if they make sure that they only complete payment transactions on eBay motors and do not use money wire services for any payments.
eBay is not the only online website that the scam artists targeted as they also have used CycleTrader.com, Cars.com, and AutoTrader.com to sell cars that do not actually exist. Sales generally ranged from £6,000 to £24,000 with the scam artists receiving all of the money and the buyers finding out that the cars they purchased did not actually exist. Romania has been referred to previously as a cyber crime hotspot.