COLUMBIA — An attempt to fraudulently purchase vehicles from local dealerships Tuesday was thwarted.
Two men attempted to purchase a car and a truck from two locations using fake E*Trade checks and other documents "verifying" the checks' authenticity, said Jill Wieneke, spokeswoman for the Columbia Police Department. The documents claimed the men had more than $200,000 in the account.
Dealers with Joe Machens and University Chrysler became suspicious because there were too many inconsistencies in the paperwork. The offers were declined, and the dealers contacted Columbia police, Wieneke said.
She tweeted the information Wednesday and sent out notices to dealerships around Columbia to alert everyone of more possible scams.
Her message read: "Car dealers beware! 2 men reported going to dealerships with fraudulent E-Trade checks and other documents trying to buy high dollar cars."
Because no transaction was completed, the men were not charged with fraud.
"Our involvement was very, very minor, simply a telephone transaction," said Mary Jo Henry, who works at the Joe Machens Ford Lincoln Mercury.
Machens had been alerted to the scam by another dealership in town before a suspicious person called to ask about a high-end vehicle.
"We're just always handling things cautiously with high-end vehicles," Henry said.
University Chrysler confirmed that one of their employees also had an interaction with the two suspects.