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SANTA MONICA, Calif. — While Edmunds.com said it was successful in shutting down two fraudulent sites that were using the company's name, logo and likeness to bilk consumers out of money, it asks those in the industry to be on alert if any similar sites pop up.

The company helped shut down www.edmundspayment.com and www.edmundsautopayment.com, but officials said they are concerned more sites such as these could appear.

"If you see a classified ad that references an Edmunds escrow service, please report it immediately to the Web site hosting the ad," stressed Kenneth Levin, senior vice president and general counsel.

"Edmunds.com does not have an escrow service, but criminals are fraudulently using our site's name, logo and likeness to induce car buyers to send them the payment for the car — falsely assuring them that the money will be safely held until the vehicle is delivered," he continued.

Philip Reed, Edmunds.com senior consumer advice editor, pointed out, "Sellers are not the ones who need the protection that an escrow service offers. As a safeguard, the buyer should always choose the escrow service."