RICHMOND, Va. -- There’s been a recent spike in complaints regarding fake online auction sites, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Inline Repo, Auct Best LLC and Tymacrepo are just three online auction companies the BBB has received complaints about over the past two months. They say the makers of these sites took legitimate photos from other online auction sites and posted items for sale with a much lower ticket price.
After CBS 6's sister stations WRTV in Indianapolis and WTVF in Nashville investigated Inline Repo and Auct Best in March, they found consumers lost around $100,000 by wiring money for RVs, boats or tractors they “won the bid” for on the site, but never received them.
Following those two investigations, the Inline Repo and Auct Best sites disappeared, but another site called Tymacrepo popped up. That website appeared to be using some of the same photos found on the Inline Repo and Auct Best sites.
CBS 6 went to Barry Moore, president and CEO of the BBB of Central Virginia to ask him whether this site was another scam.
Based on photos listed on the Tymacrepo site, he said he could tell something was off just based on the fact that a five-year-old vehicle was being sold at the same price as one that had 100,000 more miles on a legitimate site.
The BBB had also received reports on its Scam Tracker from consumers in South Carolina, Kansas and California that stated the company’s address didn’t exist, and they wouldn’t answer the phone.
So, we wanted to find out what you should look out for when shopping on online auction sites because Moore said there are several legitimate sites based right here in Central Virginia.
First, it’s easy to search and see if the auction site has a BBB accreditation. "If they're accredited, they'll usually have a seal on the business saying they're accredited on their website, so that's the first hurdle," said Moore.
Second, search the name of the company and the word "scam" to see if any other consumers have reported issues. Third, never pay for a product in a way you aren’t familiar with.
"Normal auctions are going to do the normal pay that is common, everyday payment methods," Moore explained. "So be cautious. If there's too much glitz and glamour, it's not an auction, it's a way to bait you in. And they prey on people who think it’s their lucky day."
Fourth, if the price seems too good to be true, Moore said it probably is.
"If it's undervalued, if it's under the value by $15,000, it's too good to be true," he noted. "It's a scam, so don't forget, if they're selling you nothing and getting $10,000 from you on something you think is worth $50,000, you're out $10,000. And there's no getting that back."
CBS 6 reached out to Attorney General Jason Miyares’ office, they haven't received any complaints about Virginians falling victim to Inline Repo or Auct Best.
But if you think you’ve been the victim of an online auction scam, you should report it to law enforcement, and you can also make a report on the BBB website and Scam Tracker. https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker