Boat scams sinking people’s hopes of owning one

Published: May 21, 2021 4:12 PM EDT
Updated: May 21, 2021 4:34 PM EDT

Many people would love to own their own boat, but those dreams could quickly sink.

The deals you see online may not be real. Someone is selling boats on the internet, but the problem is those boats don’t exist.

You might see photos of your dream boat, in mint condition and at an amazingly low price. All you have to do is wire some money to the boat company to snag the deal.

In a case of reverse identity theft, scammers have assumed the identity of the Talon Marine Company, a legitimate company that went out of business about 10 years ago. The scammers advertise boats online, but it’s fake, there are no boats, and people are sending their money anyway.

Bryan Oglesby with the Better Business Bureau of West Florida has been following this.

“Locally here on the West Florida marketplace, we had consumers report of a scammer stealing the identity of what was a legitimate boat builder in Sarasota, Florida, where they took the name and the address of that boat builder and pretended to be that company. They created a website that was similar to the name and they pretended to sell boats online,” he said.

There are even reports of people showing up at the old location in Sarasota to pick up their nonexistent boat, then they get the bad news.

To avoid being the victim of this scam, you should contact the seller by phone, ask to see the boat in person before you hand over any payments, avoid unusual payment methods, and don’t rush into buying anything.

These scams are prevalent for cars and RVs as well. As you often hear, if the deal sounds too good, it’s probably a scam.

RESOURCES
BBB Tip: Buying a Boat Online
BBB Tip: Buying a Car Online
BBB: Talon Marine Co. impostor
BBB Investigation: Vehicle escrow scams