Finding a reliable, affordable used car online can be a hassle, especially with pre-owned vehicles in such short supply, and Iowans are being warned that scammers are aiming to take their hard-earned money.

Lisa Schiller, at the Better Business Bureau, says the first warning sign is that the car is listed at a super-low price.

“When you contact the seller, you’ll then find out that the vehicle is actually located in another city,” Schiller says, “but luckily for you, the seller knows a transport company that can deliver the vehicle to you — and that is a red flag.”

The crooks may try to get you to pay for the transportation with a money order or gift cards, and if you do that, the money is gone and so is the car.

She says, “Your vehicle will not actually be delivered because the sale was a scam and the con artist was in cahoots with the third party make-believe transport company.”

Schiller says you should always insist on seeing the car in person and get it inspected before making any payments.

“If you get really vague answers, if the seller gets defensive or aggressive or if they can’t confirm their location or the location of the vehicle, you’re probably dealing with a scammer.”

Schiller also reminds people to insist on all of the paperwork to ensure the sale is legit.

Radio Iowa