The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has issued an alert to warn users about a new scam.
“If you are planning to buy a vehicle online, beware. Cyber criminals are posting ads on the Internet without pictures, providing photos only upon request. Sometimes these images are sent as attachments, other times as a link to an online gallery—but in either case, the photos can and often contain malware that infects the victim’s computer,” the advisory reads.
It continues, “This malicious software will direct the victim to a fake website—run by the cyber criminals—that looks nearly identical to the site where the ad was originally seen. When the victim agrees to purchase the item and makes the payment, the criminals stop all correspondence, and the victim never receives the merchandise.”
To avoid falling victim to such scams, the FBI urges consumers to purchase items only from secure and trusted websites, be cautious if they’re contacted by a seller after they’ve lost an auction, and research a car dealership before handing out any money.
Also, be wary if an item is severely undervalued.
Users are also advised to scan files before downloading them onto their computers, keep their software updated at all times, and make sure their antivirus products and other security solutions are always running.