How to Avoid Scams when Purchasing a Vehicle Online

25 December 2011

Location, location, location. We all have heard of this from every real estate agent, it is used as the fundamental rule when it comes to the real estate game. This can be also used to validate if some one is legitimate or not when it comes to selling or buying a vehicle online. First of all, don’t get excited so quickly, take some time to think over the situation. If the email address looks fishy, or the name used in the reply are something similar to like “John Edward”, “Tom Jones” that should be the first warning sign this maybe a scam.

The typical scam works on two main principles, first of all be aware of any “distant buyer”, the story maybe he or she is a marine biologist, explorer in the North Pole or what ever location that person can think of, do not deal with them. Chances are 99.9 out of 100 it is a scam!!! These types of scams originated 3 to 4 years ago and they mainly attack Craigslist, Kijiji, AutoTrader where people have trust in these portals and feel comfortable doing business. The second stage of the scam involves you wiring money through PayPal, online Escrow service, Western Union money transfer and so on. These types of scams explore someone’s greed, and use that against them. If you are looking to purchase a vehicle, and my “miracle” you have found a 2009 BMW 3 Series for only $5000, the old saying of “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is a scam!”.

This scam can also work in the reverse, it can also be used when some one is trying to sell a vehicle. They believe they have found a potential buyer for their vehicle, but only to find out they are been scammed out of tons of money.

More recently the scams have taken to another level entirely, these “potential buyers” are actually showing up in person. When you are listing a vehicle for sale, you have no replies for months, and all of the sudden some one is interested in your vehicle with a name such as “Tom Jones”. He agrees to meet you in person to see the vehicle and discuss about the deal. He may even haggle with you a little bit just to keep the “show” as realistic as possible.

He then will turn and ask you if you would accept a “Certified Cheque”, when you reply “Yes”, the fish is caught. He will return in 1 or 2 days with the “Certified Cheque”. He will ask for all the keys and the ownership signed over to him, when he hand over the “Certified Cheque” to you and drive away in your car you thought you made a great deal, but only to find out after 5 business days the “Certified Cheque” is fake, and you have willingly “Give” your car to a stranger you have only met twice.

Follow your gut instinct, don’t be greedy, question, photocopy, take pictures if it is necessary. Be careful when it comes to buying or selling a vehicle online.



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