A Florida consumer says the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota helped stop her from losing thousands of dollars.
“You saved me,” she told BBB officials after their warning dissuaded her from wiring $34,000 to a con artist. The scammer was posing as a legitimate Minnesota company in an effort to steal her money.
In August 2021, she saw an RV online for a low price. When she contacted the seller, the seller explained why they must sell their vehicle now, and pressured her to make a payment quickly. Only, the con is more elaborate — they included a third-party shipping company where she was supposed to wire the money.
She didn’t want to purchase such a large item without seeing it in-person, so before flying out to Minnesota where the warehouse claimed to be located, she asked a friend, who lived in Minnesota, to drive by the address and verify that the warehouse was there. When the friend went to the warehouse address listed on the vehicle shipper website, they found no warehouse in sight. Instead, there was a strip mall. She did more research and decided to call the BBB.
“I knew at that point that somebody besides me was going to get taken advantage of, because it happens every day,” she said.
She added she called because she felt BBB was reputable and trustworthy. “The fact that [BBB] listened to me and knew the story already…you can hopefully track something down so that the good companies can thrive,” she said.
This “shipping company” was an imposter of a legitimate, local shipping company called Baraka Logistics, located in Burnsville. In this case, the consumers were not the only victims–the real Baraka Logistics had their identity stolen. The imposter stole their name and USDOT license to create a fake website, phone number and address to deceive consumers into believing there was a warehouse storing the vehicles in Minneapolis.
Not all consumers are as lucky as she was. A Tennessee man reported to BBB’s Scam Tracker he lost $34,000 on an RV listing after wiring money to an alleged vehicle shipping company.
After BBB was alerted of this potential scam and discovered that there was a legitimate business called Baraka Logistics, BBB contacted the owner, who confirmed he had been receiving calls from other consumers like the Florida woman wanting to verify the company.
BBB promptly added an alert on Baraka Logistics’ BBB Business Profile to warn consumers:
“If you are currently in communication with ‘Baraka Logistics’ about an online vehicle purchase, BBB strongly urges you not to send money.”
Send your scam story to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 507-831-3455. Stories will appear in an upcoming edition and in a Thursday website report. By sharing your story, you may prevent others from being scammed.
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