Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Edmunds.com Battling Escrow Scammers
Santa Monica-based Edmunds.com is again warning people about a continuing scam where criminals are using official sounding--but fake--escrow services to swindle people out of money. Escrow services are online services which hold money until a transaction successfully occurs, and are heavily used for online automotive purchases. According to Edmunds.com, it has seen 413 reports of escrow scams since March of 2010 which have used the company's name, with at least 35 of those victims losing money. Edmunds.com has been warning of the scams since before April of last year, as scammers began asking victims to use a fake Edmunds escrow service to complete car purchases. Edmunds does not provide any escrow services to users. According to Edmunds.com, it is asking people who see classified ads referring to an Edmunds escrow service to report it to the web site hosting the ad; it also encouraged users to check with the Better Business Bureau or online to verify any escrow services are legitimate. The fraudulent use of Edmunds.com's name was highlighted in an article from the Los Angeles Times last week.