a close up of a car: WVLT

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS/WVLT) – The Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning potential pre-owned car buyers to be careful if using Facebook Marketplace to shop.

The FBI said a scam operation has been using a dealership called Bluff Online Sales to rip people off using fake online ads regarding the sale of pre-owned cars. The owner of the actual auto shop Bluff Road Auto Sales, Clint Wactor of South Carolina, said they noticed the scam two months ago.

“When people see the very low prices on these fake ads and call us before sending any money, we tell them what is going on,” said Wactor. “But when someone communicates with the scammer through Messenger or email, they have no idea who they are talking with. That is when the scammer has opportunity to rip someone off.”

WIS reported that the fake operation was using the real information–address, website URL and number–for Bluff Road Auto Sales. Wactor said his dealership was getting calls every seven to 10 seconds about the scam at one point.

Bluff Road Auto Sales has placed a warning about the scam on its website and its Facebook page. The company has also placed a recording on their phone system to warn callers.

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