Scams involving misrepresented vehicle histories, deceptive online listings, and fraudulent payment methods when buying or selling cars.
Trust Mirage: Fake Buyers
They propose arrangements for bank transfers and vehicle transport – but with a deceptive twist – posing as out-of-town buyers who wish to purchase a car remotely.
Upon receiving payment for the vehicle, the scammer promises reimbursement for courier and insurance fees.
When the scammer receives payment from the unsuspecting seller, he abruptly ends all communication.
Afraid of fake sellers: Irresistible deals made out to be false
Fake sellers advertise enticingly low-priced used cars that are not theirs, accounting for 80% of used car sales scams.
They then disappear without delivering the promised vehicle, avoid personal meetings and inspections, and pressure victims to pay using bank transfers or fake websites.
If a seller claims the vehicle will not be available and demands prepayment, Catriona Lowe advises buyers to be cautious. She suggests inspecting the vehicle before purchasing it and avoiding unusual payments.
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An untrue sense of duty creates urgency in the ‘Defence Force’ scam
Some scammers claim to be members of the military, citing deployment overseas as a reason to sell their vehicles at unusually low prices urgently.
In 97% of reported car sales scams, scammers impersonated navy, army, or air force personnel, often using fake emails to create a facade of legitimacy.
Buyers are urged to scrutinize all warning signs, including implausibly low prices.
Payment Through Third-Party Websites: The Elusive Upgrade
Through third-party websites such as PayPal or PayID, scammers demand payment from their victims by claiming that their PayID accounts need to be upgraded, which leads to our funds disappearing.
The PayID scam cost Australians over $260,000 in 2022, reinforcing the necessity of caution and verification.
Signs it’s a scam:
- An email claims to be from PayID informing you of money deposited in your account, but no funds appear.
- Overpayments, unlocking, or upgrading your account require payment.
- A family member will pick up the item for you if the person is unable to do so themselves.
- In addition to receiving payments via PayID, you are requested to provide your email address or other irrelevant contact information.
It’s an Old Trick with a High-Tech Twist: Tampering with Odometers
The age-old trick of tampering with odometers has evolved into a high-tech scam. Scammers use counterfeit software to tamper with new cars’ odometers.
A significant reduction in mileage has been reported, highlighting the need for due diligence, licensed repairer inspections, and an in-depth vehicle history report.
Keep an eye on the ever-evolving world of online car sales, and avoid these sophisticated scams through vigilance and informed decision-making. Don’t be fooled by tempting deals that seem too good to be true.
Online Auction and Classified Ad Scams:
Scammers use the internet to expand their deceitful schemes, but it has also revolutionized how we buy and sell cars.
Online classified ads and auctions are some of the most common scams. Scammers create listings for cars that don’t exist or are stolen to lure buyers into financial traps at unbelievably low prices.
Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true. Always deal with reputable online platforms and inspect the car before paying.
A title-washed vehicle conceals its history, such as its salvage status or flood status, to create the illusion that it is in better condition than it is.
Buyers are often not aware of potential problems due to the manipulation of vehicle titles across states.
Note: If there are any discrepancies or inconsistencies in the vehicle history report, make sure the car is inspected by a reliable mechanic.
Escrow services provided by scammers:
Fake escrow services are sometimes used by scammers to create the illusion that the buyer is protected.
The escrow service claims to hold the funds until the sale is complete, but in reality, the funds disappear once the sale is complete.
If you are planning to use an escrow service, make sure it is well-known and reputable. Check its legitimacy independently before proceeding.
Pressure Tactics and Upselling:
Buyers are sometimes manipulated into making impulsive purchases by unscrupulous dealers using high-pressure sales tactics.
They may try to entice buyers with unnecessary add-ons, financing options, or warranties based on their lack of knowledge.
To make the buying process easier, take your time, research the car’s value, and understand financing terms. You should also be ready to walk away if you feel pressured.
Protecting yourself from deceptive practices begins with knowing car sales scams.
A smooth and legitimate car-buying experience can be achieved by exercising caution, conducting thorough research, and seeking professional advice.