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[CA] Fraudsters using Internet to bait high-end car buyers

Online fraudsters are going upscale and targeting unsuspecting buyers of newer-model and luxury cars, the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council warned Friday. “This represents a change in strategy by curbsiders and fraudsters,” said Terry O’Keefe, spokesman for OMVIC.  “Curbsiders, unlicensed dealers who usually pose as private sellers, used to target buyers of inexpensive economy vehicles. Now,  we’re seeing a shift towards newer and high-end vehicles such as Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, and even newer-model pick-ups, which command higher prices and higher profit margins. Unfortunately, just as curbsiders commonly misrepresent themselves, they also misrepresent the vehicles they sell, which are often insurance write-offs, accident-damaged or odometer-tampered.” O’Keefe also said he knows of sixOntarioresidents who lost a total of about $250,000 to phoney websites claiming to selling luxury cars such as Ferraris and Corvettes. Car buyers have to be doubly vigilant: lurking in online classifieds are not only curbsiders, but out-right fraud artists operating fictitious dealerships supposedly based in the U.S, said O’Keefe.  These two trends are converging when it comes to car-buying rip-offs, he said. Residents of border cities, such asWindsor, need to be extra careful as they are accustomed to shopping across the border, said O’Keefe.

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Top 10 consumer complaints

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) Shady auto dealers, shoddy construction work and incessant debt collectors were once again among the most common targets of consumer gripes last year. Towing disputes and feuds between landlords and tenants were the two fasting growing complaints, while mortgage assistance scams and door-to-door meat sales were new problems on the list, according to the Consumer Federation of America’s annual report. The list, released Wednesday, is the result of survey responses from 40 state and local consumer protection agencies in 20 states. The complaints come as budget cuts and limited resources continue to squeeze the agencies, which fielded more than 350,000 complaints collectively last year, according to the report. “Whether it’s an offer on the Internet or meat being sold door-to-door out of the back of a truck, consumers need to be careful in today’s marketplace,” Amber Capoun, president of the North American Consumer Protection Investigators which helped conduct the survey, said in a statement. Related: Sneaky credit card charges can cost you hundreds 1. Auto Issues with auto sales once again topped the list. Car shoppers reported misleading advertising for new and used cars, faulty repairs, leasing and towing disputes and getting suckered into buying lemons. One California consumer noticed…

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With Smarter Cars, The Doors Are Open To Hacking Dangers

Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller have been hacking into products for a long time. But they don’t steal stuff or mess with people; instead, their purpose is to pressure companies into making their products more secure. This week, they scored big. Their research on hacking cars has captured the attention of millions and has been featured in Forbes and on the Today show. Miller and Valasek are not the first guys to hack a car, but they demonstrated like few have before just how dangerous these kinds of attacks could be. “That’s really where Charlie and I came in,” says Valasek, a security researcher at IOActive. “We really wanted to see, once someone was inside your car network, to what extent could you control the automobile?” The pair got a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and bought two modern, connected cars: a Toyota Prius and a Ford Escape. Then they tapped into the network of little built-in computers that run on virtually every car sold today. Car makers began embedding electronic control units, or ECUs, in cars more than 30 years ago. These simple little computers were developed during the first gas crisis. Initially, they were used as tiny computerized carburetors.…

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Buying A Used Car? Check For Odometer Fraud

Buying a used car is already risky business, and this story of fraud in New York will have you double checking your paperwork.

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Fort Bragg Soldier Arrested and Faces Identity Theft Charges in Court on Monday

How does a soldier in the U.S. Army for over 20 years get away with stealing someone’s identity? Though his security clearances are now revoked and he is in jail – how did he get this far along in the Army? Known to peers at Fort Bragg by Gerald Morrone, his actual identity is William Anthony Morrone, Jr. and his past has finally caught up with him. The soldier is now in jail and is facing charges in other states. Marrone was arrested on May 2, 2013. The soldier was recently flown back from Montana for his trial and will be return for his sentencing after Monday’s court-martial. Morrone also faces charges in Indiana regarding obtaining a license under his brother’s name and other fraudulent charges according to a local source who knows the family. Acting on a complaint from U.S. Army Military Police Investigations, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles’ License and Theft Bureau on April 9 arrested a soldier formerly performing the duties of Garrison Operations Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Bragg, and charged him with 21 felonies in connection with vehicle purchases using his brother’s identity according to a NC DOT news release.…

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Mishawaka car dealer charged with odometer fraud

A Mishawaka car dealer is arrested and accused of rolling back the odometers. Adame Scott, 28, was arrested on Wednesday and charged Thursday with two counts of odometer fraud. His mechanic told police he was ordered to roll back the odometers. A day after the search warrant was executed Scott’s Auto Sales was closed. Police seized several odometers, five cars and paperwork with customer names to hopefully contact other victims. It’s been in business for about a year. Police started getting several complaints about the business. Lieutant Regis Thimons from the St. Joseph County Police says, “The biggest concern we have as police officers is the danger that it puts the public in, when they are driving a vehicle that has only been road worthy for 80 thousand miles when it is actually been on the road 252 thousand, that’s a big discrepancy.” One woman says she bought a Chevy Impala in April. She says she paid 45-hundred dollars for the Impala that had 80 thousand miles. After doing some digging she found out it was actually scrapped for 400 hundred dollars with 250 some thousand miles. Police don’t know how many cars were sold with the incorrect odometer readings…

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Cuyahoga Falls: BMW Investigations/ Cuyahoga Falls Police

AKRON, OH (WOIO) – A Cuyahoga Falls man who defrauded car buyers by selling high-mileage vehicles on Craigslist after rolling back the odometers was indicted on multiple felony charges on Thursday, June 27, 2013, by a Summit County grand jury. Shannon G. Payne, 35, who also is a registered sex offender, was indicted on six counts of tampering with records and single counts of theft, forgery and identity fraud following an investigation by BMV Investigations and Cuyahoga Falls police. The charges involve three transactions in which Payne is accused of buying vehicles on Craigslist and having the owner assign the title to him. The investigation found that Payne subsequently used falsified power-of-attorney forms – utilizing the notary services of his wife, Carrianne Payne, to obtain replacement titles – after which he swapped out the odometers in the vehicles to reflect a lower mileage. Carrianne Payne was not charged in the case, but she has surrendered her notary commission. BMV Investigations has identified other apparent victims of this scheme. They can contact BMV Investigator Robert Gallo at (440) 845-1850. Copyright 2013 WOIO. All rights reserved. Original Article:

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Raleigh man pleads guilty to odometer fraud

Francis Tendayi Marimo, 39, was arrested in February 2012 and charged with change of mileage violations, obtaining property by false pretenses and acting as a dealer without a license. He will be sentenced some time in September. Federal agents started investigating Marimo after local car buyers realized the mileage on their vehicles wasn’t right. He pleaded guilty to two instances, one in which he rolled back the odometer by 100,000 miles. Investigators have said they believe he was involved in many more cases between 2008 and 2012. The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends these tips for buyers of used cars: ·         Ask to see the title and compare the mileage on it with the vehicle’s odometer. Examine the title closely if the mileage notation seems obscured or is not easy to read. ·         Compare the mileage on the odometer with the mileage on the vehicle’s maintenance or inspection records. Search for oil change and maintenance stickers on windows or door frames, in the glove box or under the hood. ·         Examine the tires. If the odometer on the car shows 20,000 or less, it should have the original tires. ·         Look at the wear and tear on the vehicle – especially the gas, brake and…

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High-Tech Thieves Use New Gadget To Gain Keyless Access To Vehicles In Long Beach

LONG BEACH ( — Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying three tech-savvy criminals wanted for a series of car burglaries in which they used an unknown device to gain keyless entry to vehicles. The men are accused of breaking into seven vehicles in an East Long Beach neighborhood on the night of Feb. 26, according to Long Beach police. The suspects were caught on surveillance using small handled devices that caused “the vehicle’s dome light to come on and doors to unlock,” Det. Joseph Starbird said in a news release.

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Car buyer cries fraud after discovering odometer has been rolled back

A few months later, she wanted to upgrade and another dealership offered to buy the car from her. But when that company ran a check on the car’s history, there was a problem. Fernandez’s odometer had been rolled back. When she purchased the car in April 2012 from Affordable Motors, the odometer showed 56,447 miles. That turned out to be untrue. The actual mileage was 187,677, miles at the time Fernandez purchased it. Affordable Motors said it has nothing to do with the mileage discrepancy. “There was a problem before us,” said Affordable Motors owner Felisberto “Felix” Sanchez. “The problem was not us. She’s probably right, but the problem was with a previous out of town dealer.” Sanchez said he runs checks on all his vehicles and nothing seemed out of the ordinary with the Chrysler he sold to Fernandez. Odometer fraud is a national problem, but consumers can take steps to protect themselves. In Fernandez’s case, she did not see her vehicle’s Carfax. The Carfax would have provided a history report for her Chrysler including any possible odometer discrepancies. “If I could do it again, I would absolutely make sure I see the Carfax first.” Federal law requires the…

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The National Odometer and Title Fraud Enforcement Association (NOTFEA) is a non-profit, professional organization formed originally in 1980 as the National Odometer Enforcement Association (NOEA).

The association is chartered as a non-profit corporation with the Commonwealth of Virginia and is registered as a 501(C)(3) organization with the Internal Revenue Service.

Membership in NOTFEA is restricted to individuals working for law enforcement and consumer protection agencies, licensing and motor vehicle departments, and private attorneys and investigators who are responsible for detecting, deterring, and prosecuting odometer, rebuilt/salvage, and other title fraud offenders under state, federal, and other applicable laws.