(KAIT/NBC) - The FBI is alerting car-shopping consumers that thieves are posting cars for sale online that they don't actually own.
FBI agents said an unbelievably bold online scam is getting worse, and it involves one of the most expensive things you'll ever buy.
Carroll Lachnit with Edmunds.com said the scam has the FBI and Edmunds teaming up to alert car-shopping consumers.
"The link to the vehicle history report may be a legitimate vehicle history report for a legitimate car. It's just the person who put the ad in doesn't own it," said Lachnit.
Lured by a low price on a great car, the crook's objective, she said, is to get a victim to wire a down payment. Sometimes they asked for the full purchase price.
They request the transfer into a phony escrow account created by the crook.
"And that really is the point at which you're separated from your money and you never hear from them again," said Lachnit.
The tell-tale signs, of these online car thieves: their insistence to talk by email, never by phone, and they make excuses for refusing to meet in person.
If any of that happens Lachnit said run, don't walk, from someone who's more likely a car thief than car seller.
She also advised victims to alert the FBI as well as others to encounters with these car-selling scammers.