Gephardt: Vehicle History Report Scam Targets People Selling Cars In Online Classifieds

Jun 23, 2020, 8:06 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 10:02 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Vehicle history reports have become a big part of the used-car buying process. They can be very helpful in learning about a car’s past, before we hand over thousands of dollars to a stranger we have only met through the online classifieds.

But now, thieves are using these reports to trick people into handing over their cash, and their identities.

After a decade of commuting around town in his blue Kia Spectra, James Van Roosendaal was ready to move on to a new set of wheels. So, he posted the Kia up for sale in the online classifieds.

Among the texts he’s received from interested buyers came one saying they are interested, but wanted Van Roosendaal to send him the “NVAR papers” before arranging to take a day off so they could see his car.

Van Roosendaal had not heard of “NVAR papers” before. When he asked for clarification, it turned out the prospective buyer wanted him to send a car history report.

“Well, I already have a report for Carfax, I can show you what that shows,” was Van Roosendaal’s response. But no, a Carfax was not going to cut it for this buyer.

“And, they gave me a very specific URL to go for that report,” Van Roosendaal explained.

He was supposed to go to that URL, pay for the $25 report and forward it back to the prospective buyer. Now, $25 does not sound like a lot to lose, but the whole thing seemed off to Van Rosendaal, so he contacted the KSL Investigators.

“Something was a little bit fishy,” he told us.

Both the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau are sounding the horn about schemes where bad guys steer sellers to bogus car history report websites.

First, it’s an easy way to pocket $25. But identity theft is also a big possibility: These sites often ask for names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, credit cards and so on. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, the bogus site could be a malware nightmare for your computer or phone.

Van Roosendaal’s instinct was spot on.

“I just hope that people would avoid that and be able to see through it,” he said.

So, if a potential buyer demands you buy a car history report from a site you’ve never heard of — don’t do it. There are legitimate and reputable history reports available, including Carfax, which costs around $40 for a single report, and AutoCheck, which goes for around $25 for a report.

You should also know that the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System or NMVTIS has teamed up with several legitimate providers to offer consumers car history reports for as little as $10. By law, insurance providers, salvage and junkyards are required to report car info to the NMVTIS.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

Amy Olsen...
Matt Gephardt

Utahns cleared of DUI accusations are forced to pay to get their licenses back

Amy Olsen has her driving privilege back now, but it cost her $255. For her, it is a frustrating ordeal that began months earlier when a trooper pulled her over.
5 days ago
Gas bill...
Matt Gephardt

Gas company increasing bills for customers on fixed payments plan

If you're told you're going to pay the same price for 12 months, you wouldn't expect the price to go up. But when the natural gas company raised the rates on a Payson woman, she decided to Get Gephardt to investigate.
5 days ago
Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...
Matt Gephardt

$21 billion in gift cards go unused. Here’s how to avoid letting them go to waste

Gift cards: they are one of the most popular gifts to give and to receive, but that does not necessarily mean they are going to get used.
7 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

How to beat the dynamic pricing used by Amazon and many other retailers to pay less

The KSL Investigates team gives you information on how to beat dynamic pricing to get your money's worth and pay less.
8 days ago
Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...
Daniella Rivera

Utah’s DCFS stops using drug testing company following KSL reports on claims of false positives

Utah’s Division of Child and Family Services is no longer contracting with a drug testing company embroiled in litigation and doubt. Following questions from the KSL Investigators, the state’s child welfare agency is also conducting an audit of its response to complaints from families.
8 days ago
FILE: JR Johansen clearing off the snow from his roof. (KSLTV/Stuart Johnson)...
Matt Gephardt

What kind of snow damage does insurance cover?

A home in Park City is one of the many Utah homes left damaged by this long winter. An ice dam pushed water up under the shingles and caused part of the ceiling to come crashing down.
11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Gephardt: Vehicle History Report Scam Targets People Selling Cars In Online Classifieds