GREENSBORO, NC -- The 2 Wants 2 Know team investigates a lot of scams.
But a recent incident had us asking: Is it? Or is it not?
The site was brought to our attention as we learn scammers are increasingly posing as buyers, pretending they are interested in the vehicle or whatever else you are selling online.
They use your listing to try to get you to run a vehicle history report on a fake website, just so they can take your credit card and personal information.
“I was this close to doing it. I kind of felt like, wow, they kind of got one around me because it still says it's secure but it's not secure enough for me,” Kevin Lipford said about his recent experience with VinLeaks.com
Lipford, an IT professional at WFMY News 2 recently listed his motorcycle for sale on Craigslist.com
“I posted it yesterday and I started getting scam emails and text messages. Most of them I could tell that they were definitely scams,” Lipford said
But the IT professional says one potential buyer's message felt -- different.
“She wanted me to get her vehicle history report. I said I was going to use Carfax.com and she specifically said don't use Carfax.com; used bikevinfinder.com
First red flag?
The link redirects to vinleaks.com
“I looked for the normal telltale signs: it had https, and a padlock on it like it was secure. So, I said OK,” Lipford recalled.
But the red flags keep popping up as 2 Wants 2 Know investigates:
• The website is based out of Europe.
• The original site in the email – bikevinfinder.com - was created the same day Lipford posted his bike up for sale
• There are several grammatical errors on the site
• The message the potential buyer sent Lipford? Identical to the ones scammers have used in the past for other websites.
• The most convincing red flag? So-called Vinleaks.com customers posting on the site’s Facebook page and Reportscams.com that the website is a scam.
Patrick Olsen with Cars.com says he’s familiar with the fake vehicle history report scam.
“I don't know what's going on in this particular case but it certainly sounds like a phishing expedition, with a “ph” where people basically send you an email, convince you to log into sites, give up your information, credit card or otherwise, and then take advantage of that,” Olsen said, adding that as scammers get more sophisticated, it’s getting harder to uncover their schemes.
“I was this close to doing it and I kind of felt like, wow, they kind of got one around me because it still says it's secure but it's not secure enough for me,” he said.
As for the "Verified by Visa” logo at the bottom of the vinleaks.com, we reached out to Visa to see if it's legitimate.
We're still waiting for a response.
We also contacted the website, directly, but haven't heard back.
It is still unclear if this site is a scam but there are enough red flags for you to be careful.
Not just with this, but any links that pop up when you are trying to sell a vehicle or anything online.
Try to work face-to-face with the potential buyer in a public area
and use a trusted source to run a vehicle history report -- not something a stranger suggests.
Facebook: Faith Abubey