Scammers Posing As Gillette Used Car Dealer Nearly Swindle $56,000 From Woman

A scammer posing online as a Gillette used car dealership has roped in at least three potential victims, with one woman on Tuesday nearly losing $56,000 to the scheme.

Ellen Fike

April 04, 20245 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A scammer posing as a used car dealership in Gillette, Wyoming, has roped in at least three potential victims over the last few weeks, the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department (CCSD) reports.  

The most recent scam happened Tuesday, when a 61-year-old South Carolina woman reported to the Gillette Police Departmentthat she was nearly taken for $56,700, Campbell County Undersheriff Quentin Reynolds told Cowboy State Daily. The woman attempted to buy a Chevrolet Chevelle online through a website that imitated Wild West Auto in Gillette. 

“We don’t believe our suspect is a Gillette local,” Reynolds said. “This is like any other scam. If someone is asking for payment up-front, it’s probably something to be wary of.” 

The woman initiated a wire transfer for the vehicle, but somehow realized the Wild West website she was using was fake and had her bank cancel the transaction before it was complete. Reynolds was unsure how the potential victim realized the transaction was a scam. 

This is the third fraudulent sale from the scammer posing as Wild West Auto in less than a month, Reynolds told Cowboy State Daily, adding that the local business isn’t involved.

Wild West Auto owners did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Cowboy State Daily on Thursday. 

First Scam

The incidents began March 19 when someone with Wild West Auto contacted Gillette police to report someone had created a duplicate of the company’s website with a phone number that directed calls to a scammer. No money had been lost, however. 

The reporting party was instructed to contact the FBI, which is now also looking into the scams, Reynolds said. 

Wild West staff responded to the scam on its Facebook page March 20. 

“It has been brought to our attention that someone has created a fake website using our name and old location address to advertise classic [cars],” the dealership posted. “This is not us. [If] you have been speaking with someone at that site please contact [us] so we can pass that information on to our local [sheriff] office.”

Wild West Auto in Gillette's real website, left, and another made up to imitate the Wyoming used car lot to scam people into buying cars that don't exist.
Wild West Auto in Gillette's real website, left, and another made up to imitate the Wyoming used car lot to scam people into buying cars that don't exist. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Second Scam

Reynolds said the second instance happened March 25, when an 80-year-old man in Washington state reported being scammed out of $56,500 after buying two vehicles through a fake Wild West website.

The man allegedly spoke with a sales representative named “Barry Cole.” The victim paid the man through his Navy Federal Credit Union. The payment was supposed to go to a Gillette Wells Fargo bank account, but Reynolds said it was unclear where the money actually went.

Reynolds was unsure why Wild West is being targeted, but cautioned anyone looking to buy a car, either online or in-person, to do their due diligence.

“I would contact the dealership over the phone or just go in person,” he said. “Just know if these deals sound too good to be true, they probably are.” 

Not Just Gillette 

Dallas Tyrrell, whose family owns multiple Tyrrell Chevrolet dealerships in Wyoming and northern Colorado, said Wild West is not the only auto dealer struggling with scams and fraud.

“Our dealership in Cheyenne is catching fraudulent transactions almost monthly,” he said. “We had a man come in fairly recently to purchase a $75,000 truck. Everything looked good, his information and credit details all checked out. 

“But as we started to do the paperwork to title the car, we were contacted by the state of Colorado to inform us that they’d never issued the driver’s license that he presented to us. So, we had a $75,000 truck out in the world.”

Tyrrell tracked the vehicle using OnStar to a Fort Collins hotel. The truck was damaged and equipment to make fake identifications was found in it. The suspect had been someone on the FBI’s radar for a while, as he had been executing similar scams in other states. 

“What’s even more crazy is when I Googled the name on the ID, the person had died the same day the transaction took place. They had stolen his identity all within one day,” Tyrrell said. 

As the vice president of the Wyoming Auto Dealer Association, Tyrrell said he has heard about numerous other car dealerships across the state being hit with fraud and scams, such as one in Casper and another dealer that has lots across Wyoming and Colorado. 

“I think there are a lot of loopholes these scammers can find if you’re not on top of your game,” he said. “Maybe you’re a new dealer or a mom-and-pop type of place, but you need to have safeguards in place to make sure the information you’re receiving from customers is legitimate.” 

Ellen Fike can be reached at

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Ellen Fike