BBB Serving Wisconsin Warns of Phony Vehicle Ads Falsely Claiming Wisconsin Address Circulating AcroJuly 20, 2020WISCONSIN BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU
BBB Serving Wisconsin Warns of Phony Vehicle Ads Falsely Claiming Wisconsin Address Circulating Across U.S.
BBB issues warning after two consumers lose almost $75K
Milwaukee, Wis. – The BBB Serving Wisconsin is issuing a nationwide alert about BCO Logistics, LLC, a vehicle “transport” website displaying a Mount Pleasant address.
BBB has been made aware of a dozen consumers in ten states who have become victims or almost victims- of BCO Logistics - since our file opened on June 4, 2020. These consumers thought they were purchasing vehicles through an online ad from a private seller who claimed to be using BCO Logistics as its vehicle transport company.
The firm claims a Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin address. However, it is not located in Mt. Pleasant.
Here’s how it works:
Consumers answered ads seen on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, AutoTrader.com, local city websites and other sites for boats, RV's, trailers, skid steers, campers, cars, and other vehicles. They then contact the "seller" who usually claims to be a female flight attendant that travels (so she is unable to meet or show the vehicle). She says she is going through a divorce and is offering a good price because she has “urgent debts to pay”, doesn’t need the vehicle and is “in a hurry to sell.”
Once the consumer is interested, he or she is told that the item is being stored at BCO Logistics in Mount Pleasant, and they are instructed to pay BCO Logistics directly, by wire transfer, with the promise that the item will be delivered to their home.
The vehicle never arrives.
On June 19, 2020 the actual owner of the Mt. Pleasant property listed on the BCO Logistics' website contacted the BBB Serving Wisconsin to report that her address had been stolen and is fraudulently being used to perpetuate this scheme, and she is in no way related or connected.
In addition, on July 2, 2020 the actual Wisconsin corporation registrant spoke with BBB Wisconsin and informed us that his name and corporation name have also been hijacked and being used fraudulently. He and his actual company, BCO Logistics LLC, are in no way connected or related to this scheme of advertising, selling, storing or transporting vehicles used in "for sale" advertisements. In fact, the actual BCO Logistics LLC corporation is a personal corporation and not a company that is in direct contact with consumers or companies, at all.
Both of these individuals are the victims of identity theft.
The actual perpetrators behind this scam are very likely located overseas.
BBB has received reports from thirteen consumers in eleven states. Three lost money when they made wire transfer payments for vehicles not delivered. One consumer lost $3,000, one lost $32,600, another lost $41,900. The three consumers combined lost $77,500.
The BBB urges extreme caution when paying via wire transfer, as this is an untraceable method of payment and, once you pay with a wire transfer, your money is gone with generally no way to recover it.
“Don’t be too anxious to buy that RV or boat based solely on a great price and a colorful photo”, says Jim Temmer, BBB Serving Wisconsin CEO and president. “Today, you must absolutely do your homework. BBB is seeing more and more scenarios exactly like this. Scammers are stealing and using legitimate business names, owner and officer names, addresses and other pieces of information to appear more believable.”
The website, bco-logistics.com, is newly created; Created May 29, 2020. The registrant is private. Photos of boats, campers and other vehicles are stock photos.
BBB Serving Wisconsin recommends the following tips to avoid losing money on online vehicle purchases:
- Do not pay with a wire transfer. Scammers usually avoid payment by check, credit card or other traceable methods. Pay by credit card whenever possible in case you need to challenge the payment.
- Use a domain registration website (such as WhoIs.com) to discover how long the website has been in existence. Contact information may also be available. Scammers posing as vehicle dealers, brokers, or large vehicle shipping services often direct consumers to a second website to complete the transaction.
- Avoid any transporter or broker that does not prominently display its MC Docket number on its website. Shipping companies are required to register with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and have and post a U.S. DOT Motor Carrier Number (MC Docket) to operate in the United States. The company should post the number on its website and provide it over the phone if asked. Verify the company at the Department of Transportation’s SAFER website.
- Do not trust photos as they can be easily copied from the internet. Do a reverse image search to see if a photo has been misappropriated from another website. Whenever possible, insist on meeting the seller and inspecting the vehicle before releasing any money.
- Check the vehicle’s book value with legitimate valuation tools. Scammers often lure buyers with prices that are a fraction of the vehicle’s book price so buyers will act quickly. Deals that seem too good to be true usually are.
- Find the contact information listed on the company’s website. A search on Google Maps may show if the location appears to be valid. If a phone number is listed, make a quick call to determine if it’s a working number or even affiliated with the company.
- Check with BBB.org to see a company’s Business Profile, if they have one, and also be sure to review BBB Scam TrackerSM which can provide additional information.
In addition, please file a complaint with the FBI or the FTC.
For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.bbb.org/wisconsin, 414-847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002. Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2019, people turned to BBB more than 183 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.8 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Wisconsin which was founded in 1939 and serves the state of Wisconsin.Contact:Lisa Schiller, Media Relationslschiller@wisconsin.bbb.org, 414-847-6055