Fake website using name of long-time Quincy used car dealer scamming consumers

Oberling web 1 copy

This is the home page for www.boboberlingusedcars.com, a fake website using the name of a former used car dealer from Quincy.

QUINCY — A website purporting to be the home of a long-time Quincy car dealer is scamming people searching for used cars.

The Better Business Bureau has received complaints in the last month from people in Louisiana and Texas attempting to buy a vehicle from Bob Oberling Used Cars, 2731 N. 12th, which no longer is in business.

Don O’Brien, regional director of the BBB’s Quincy office, said the Louisiana native was planning to make the 14-hour drive to Quincy to buy a 1977 Ford Bronco from the fake site. He avoided losing money when he contacted the BBB before choosing to spend $27,000 on the vehicle.

Motortrend.com says a 1977 Ford Bronco, the last year of the first-generation Broncos, is typically worth around $39,000 — making the “offer” from the fake Oberling website very enticing.

“He saved himself a ton of money by calling me,” O’Brien said. 

However, he said the Texas native lost $25,000 — also trying to buy a 1977 Ford Bronco — before learning too late the site was fake. 

“This is a very intricate scam,” O’Brien said. “That website looks like a car website. These scammers are very sophisticated in that they found a lot for a guy with a good reputation.”

The former Oberling lot on the southwest corner of 12th and Koch’s Lane sits empty. Oberling died May 14, 2020. A story in the Aug. 29, 2008 edition of The Herald-Whig says he started in the car business in 1957 and owned a lot on North 24th Street for about 40 years before downsizing and moving to the lot on 12th Street.

The fake site’s “About Us” page says, “Robert Oberling Jr., owner of Bob Oberling Used Cars, is known in the area for handling quality used vehicles.”

Bob Oberling did not have a son named Robert Oberling, Jr. His online obituary said he was survived by a daughter and a stepdaughter. He has no family members in the area. His brother died in 2021. 

O’Brien said the fake site has a photo showing a lot filled with vehicles that appears to have been lifted from a view of Google Street that was posted in 2019. A fake positive review about a “great experience” written by someone named “Gladys C. Hart” was left last week on the fake company’s Google page.

“These (scammers) had all their ducks in a row,” O’Brien said.

Anyone buying a vehicle from the fake site will be asked to wire the money for the vehicle, O’Brien said. They then will be asked to wire money — typically around $5,000 — for the vehicle to be transported.

WhoIs.com, a public database that houses the information collected when someone registers a domain name, shows the website www.boboberlingusedcars.com is registered at NameCheap, Inc., by a company in Reykjavik, Iceland, that kept its name private. The site was registered on Nov. 21, so the fake care lot is less than a month old.

“The guy from Louisiana saw (the fake car lot) on a Facebook marketplace ad or one of those Buy/Sell/Trade groups in his area,” O’Brien said. “These scammers aren’t putting these cars up on the Quincy groups. They’re going all over the place.”

The Louisiana car buyer said a call to the phone number from the 217 area code listed on the website was not answered, but he later received a call from the 708 area code (Chicago) about the Bronco.

“Of course, scammers can make it seem like they’re from anywhere,” O’Brien said.

The BBB business profile for Bob Oberling Used Cars was removed after the business closed. O’Brien expects the BBB likely will be reactivating it soon with warning text about the scammers. 

“If you’re looking to buy something out-of-state from a business you don’t know, the BBB is a great place to start,” he said. “They’re going to have at least some knowledge of whether that car dealership in this case is active or not. You’ve really got to be careful on those Facebook groups.”

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