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'I was just so disappointed': Ontario man scammed $30,000 trying to buy dream car

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An Ontario man was elated when he thought he bought his dream car on a U.S. website, but his dreams never came true because the car never arrived.

"I've seen them around, my friends have had them in the past, and they have a very nice appearance and body style," said Gordon Dutton, of Lindsay, Ont.

The 1966 Pontiac GTO was being sold for about US$23,000, which was almost C$30,000 at the time. Dutton contacted the seller, who provided photos and information about the vehicle.

Dutton said he was told if he wired the money, the car would be delivered in a covered vehicle right to his door on June 8 this past summer. Even though Dutton wired the funds, the car never showed up.

"They were going to deliver it, and I invited a friend over, and we waited and waited, and it never came," said Dutton. "I found out the company doesn't exist. It turned out to be a big scam."

Dutton used his savings to buy the car, so he contacted his bank, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), hoping there was a way to get his money back.

In a statement to CTV News, a spokesperson for RBC said many fraudsters create websites and email addresses that look real but aren't authentic.

"We recognize that being affected by fraud or scams can be a difficult and stressful situation," the statement reads.

"When sending or receiving funds, take precautions to ensure you are dealing with a legitimate person or business. Given the near real-time nature of wire transfers, once a wire transfer is sent, retrieving the funds is not always possible."

Dave Grainger with the Guild of Automotive Restorers -- an Innisfil, Ont. company specializing in classic and antique car restoration -- told CTV News that, unfortunately, there are many scams involving classic cars to watch out for.

"Many of the problems are related to the Internet. People lose their money, and the car is never delivered, or they get a car that's not what they thought they were buying," Grainger said.

Grainger adds it important to be cautious when buying a classic car or antique vehicle.

"There is nothing like seeing a car in person or sending someone who knows about cars, like an appraiser, and if you're going to wire money to someone, put it in a trust or find a way to make sure your money remains safe," said Grainger.

Grainger said many scammers steal photos from legitimate websites because they don't have the cars they claim to be selling.

"They use the same photos over and over again. It's not uncommon, and in fact, it's a very common scam," Grainger said.

After being scammed, Dutton said he found the same 1966 Pontiac GTO ad on another website. He hopes to get his money back but realizes now that may not happen, calling the whole ordeal "disappointing." 

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