As the classic car market continues to grow, scams like this are probably only going get worse.
A Kansas City, Missouri man was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for one count of wire fraud and one count of transporting a stolen vehicle following a classic car scheme. According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Missouri, Travis D. Oberg, 51, was fraudulently selling cars that didn't belong to him, and in the end, he ended up stealing $145,000 from his victims.
Oberg had set up an LLC called Maaco Sales and Reconditioning using the name of the nationwide paint repair company to trick his customers. A victim from Connecticut was scammed out of $53,000 after Oberg "sold" him a 1973 BMW, 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SL, 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe and a 1967 Jaguar XKE 2+2 Coupe (like the one shown above), and he later "sold" the same Jaguar and Porsche to a California man for $37,000.
Another victim trusted Oberg with his 1957 Ford Thunderbird to restore and consign but instead he just sold it outright and kept the $12,500 from the sale. Sadly, this wasn't his first time running this scam. Oberg had been previously sentenced to federal prison for the same type of crime only before he had defrauded his customers of over $900,000.
Here are three easy tips to avoid encountering the same:
- Pay with credit card if possible - This is generally the safest way to pay due to the fact that you can always dispute fraudulent charges, but, of course, this isn't always possible.
- Hire a reputable vehicle inspector - Spending a couple hundred dollars up front is better than getting scammed out of tens of thousands of dollars
- Do your research - If a deal is too good to be true (1973 BMW, 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SL, 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe and a 1967 Jaguar XKE 2+2 Coupe for $53,000, for example), then it probably is. Also, do a quick search of the person/company you're dealing with. A Google search of Oberg's name comes up with claims of fraudulent activity dating back almost a decade