Sponsored Post By OMVIC

Recently, OMVIC's enforcement team has identified a concerning rise in deceptive online vehicle listings posted by "curbsiders" – illegal motor vehicle sellers posing as registered dealers and salespeople. These curbsiders steal photos and names from registered dealership websites, and then use this information to create fraudulent online ads and profiles to entice unsuspecting buyers.

By posing as reputable professionals, these curbsiders dupe car buyers into placing deposits on non-existent vehicles, only to vanish without a trace. Consequently, when buyers attempt to claim their purchased vehicle from the dealership, they discover that the purported seller, dealer, or transaction is entirely unaware by the business.

Another deceptive scheme used by curbsiders involves illicitly altering authentic dealer advertisements, which are then reposted with the curbsider posing as the dealer and salesperson. Consequently, buyers unwittingly send deposits to these imposters, falling victim to fraudulent transactions.

To safeguard against such scams, car buyers are advised to exercise caution when purchasing a vehicle. The most secure method in Ontario is through a registered dealer. Registered dealers and salespeople in the province must adhere to stringent regulations outlined in the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA), Consumer Protection Act (CPA), and a Code of Ethics, ensuring industry integrity and buyer protection. Purchasing from a registered dealer affords recourse under these laws should any issues arise with the vehicle or transaction.

Conversely, private purchases lack such legal protections, leaving buyers vulnerable to fraud and financial loss without recourse from OMVIC or regulatory legislation. Curbsiders ignore such consumer protection laws and often misrepresent themselves and the vehicles they sell, frequently offering multiple vehicles below market value, often rebuilt wrecks, misrepresented vehicles or vehicles with odometer rollbacks to lure unsuspecting buyers.

To mitigate the risk of fraud or falling prey to curbsiders, OMVIC recommends the following precautions:

· Always buy from an OMVIC-registered dealer.

· Never send money online for deposits unless you have done your due diligence.

· Always meet the seller at the claimed dealership premises.

· Verify online contact details with the dealership directly.

· Validate the legitimacy of the advertised vehicle by confirming with the dealership before proceeding.

· Contact OMVIC with any concerns regarding advertisements or potential transactions. · Report all curbsiders or suspected curbsiders to nocurbs@omvic.on.ca or to Crime Stoppers.