Helpful Tips About Internet Scams
Although the internet has made it possible to bring more buyers and sellers of vehicles together, there are warning signs to be aware of in order to protect yourself, your vehicle, your money and your identity.
Through the years, we have heard about scam attempts (and some that have been successful, unfortunately), when buying or selling online.
How to help protect yourself from scams: In many cases, there seems to be a pattern that the scammers follow. They will make contact through email first and generally will not follow through with a phone call when asked. If they do make a call to you, their phone number will come through as "Private" or "Blocked". Be persistent in requesting a phone number where you can call them back.
Quite often their need to purchase your vehicle is urgent, and due to the urgency, they are unable to physically come and look at the vehicle. They plan to send one of their agents to look at it and/or pick it up. Often times, they claim to be buying the vehicle as a gift and since they are out of the country, they can only make the purchase via PayPal or by wiring the money. Some emails contain words which will raise a red flag, for example, they will call the vehicle a "unit". They may say that they will send their "agent" or "deligate" to come and look at the vehicle. It's important to remember also that these are only samples and not all scammers speak with broken English. Scammers come in all shapes and sizes, from a variety of countries with different levels of education and communication and from all walks of life.
If the car is being shipped, insist that the buyer pay the shipper separately, rather than sending you "extra" money to pay the shipper... another red flag!
Although PayPal is convenient, it's rare that a vehicle would be purchased using PayPal, therefore, your PayPal email address and password is something nobody needs to know.
It's important to never disclose your bank information. Check with your personal banking institution to see if they offer a type of wire transfer/personal check/cashier's check procedure to follow in order to protect yourself from fraud. Banks offer "escrow" accounts where the funds will be held until the bank clears the funds with the issuing bank and will hold the title to the vehicle, to protect the buyer. Involve your bank in the transaction, so that determining if the wire transfer/check/funds are legit, aren't solely your responsibility. The banks are more knowledgeable and familiar with these types of situations, so rely on the professionals to insure that your transaction runs smoothly and scam-free. If the buyer/seller is serious and legitimate, they will appreciate the steps you take to protect their funds/vehicle and banking information as well.
It's a term that's been used for decades and stands true today... "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is".
Listen to your gut and respond accordingly.
If you receive a suspicious email or phone call, please e-mail us so we can continue to inform our buyers, sellers and viewers.