IDOT Warns Iowans of New Scam

The Iowa DOT's Bureau of Investigation and Identity Protection has discovered a fraud scheme by businesses licensed as motor vehicle "wholesalers" in other states.

In this scheme individuals in neighboring states obtain a "wholesale" motor vehicle dealer license from a different state. A wholesale license restricts licensees from selling to the public. They can only sell to retailers.

Then the wholesaler puts the vehicle up for sale on websites like Facebook, Craigslist, Offer-Up, etc. using a business address in another state and hiding that the vehicle is owned by a "wholesaler" business.

Unsuspecting buyers meet the seller in a random store parking lot and pay in cash.

When the buyer applies to title and register the vehicle at their local county treasurer's office, the paperwork is denied because it's an illegal retail sale by a wholesaler.

The bill of sale provided by the wholesaler may also include a false purchase price that could lead to charges of tax fraud if not corrected by the buyer.

These wholesalers also often illegally roll back the odometer by an average of 100,000 miles leaving the buyer with a vehicle with many more miles than the odometer shows.

The Bureau of Investigation says Iowa residents looking to buy a used car should:- Research the vehicle and the seller before buying a vehicle- Ask the seller to produce a copy of the title before purchase, or review the title before paying- Be leery of sellers asking you to purchase the vehicle in another state, especially when the title and bill of sale indicate the seller is from yet another state

For more information about this scheme, or if you feel you have been a victim of this scheme, notify the Bureau of Investigation and Identity Protection at 515-237-3050 or email

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