The Better Business Bureau of Canton Region and Greater West Virginia is alerting consumers nationwide about an online scam that is using the name and address of an out of business auto dealer in Alliance, OH.
Several consumers have contacted BBB to inquire about 5th Street Auto Sales located at 209 Hester Avenue, Alliance, OH 44601. Consumers state they have found vehicles being sold by the company through website searches on Carfax and Google. The ad for the vehicle directs consumers to the company’s website at www.5thstreetautosales.com. The website lists around 20 high-end brand vehicles such as Audi, BMW, Tesla and fully loaded F-250 trucks.
Upon BBB investigation, it has been confirmed that 5th Street Auto Sales was once located at 209 Hester Avenue in Alliance, but has been out of business since 2015. The building at that address is vacant but the lot is being used by neighboring businesses. BBB has also confirmed the website address www.5thstreetautosales.com was just created on Feb. 28, 2017, and 5th Street Auto Sales registration with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office was cancelled Sept. 21, 2015.
A victim who lost $5,000 in this scam, told BBB a down payment was required to ensure shipping of the vehicle and that only a cash deposit would be accepted though wire transfer. After two wire transfers were rejected, the consumer was asked to open a Bitcoin account or purchase Visa gift cards or Green Dot MoneyPak cards. The victim was further instructed to take pictures of both sides of the cards to show the account numbers and three digit code and email the pictures back to the company representative. After pictures of the cards are sent, the company representative ceases all communications.
BBB recommends extreme caution and advises consumers against purchasing vehicles from this website. BBB President, Frank Cilona, states “Payments using Visa gift cards or Green Dot MoneyPak Cards are often requested by scammers since they cannot be tracked and legitimate auto dealers do not accept these forms of payments to purchase vehicles”.
If you believe you have been a victim, BBB recommends you file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov, file a report with your local police department and BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker/canton.