With used cars in high demand, watch out for prices that are too good to be true
Used cars are in high demand and scammers know it. Scammers take advantage of buyers who turn to online platforms in search of a reasonably priced used vehicle. Beware of this latest twist and too-good-to-be-true prices.
How the scam works
You buy a used vehicle on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, eBay or another online platform. You find the make and model you want at an excellent price. Surprising!
However, when you contact the seller, you discover that the vehicle is in another city. Fortunately, the seller knows a transport company that can deliver it to you. All you have to do is pay the transport company, who will hold the funds in escrow until the vehicle is delivered. Many scammers will add a sad story meant to strike a chord with you. For example, they may claim that the car belonged to a deceased relative.
In an example recent report, the scammer claimed to be selling a car in the name of his aunt, who inherited it from her recently deceased father. “The ‘aunt’ claimed she was a nurse and worked shifts, and my daughter’s original email fell into her spam folder. The ‘aunt’ had moved to another province thousands of miles away from us. But if my daughter wanted to buy the car at the listed price (which was well below the list price for a vehicle of this type, year and mileage), the aunt had a contract with a transport company automobile.
Once you have paid the third party company, usually by bank transfer or prepaid debit card, your vehicle will not be delivered. The sale was a scam and the scammer was in cahoots with the third party shipping company. Unfortunately, your money is gone for good.
How to Avoid Car Sales Scams
- Beware of prices that are too good to be true. It’s probably a scam. Scammers know that used cars are in high demand and they will tempt buyers with great deals.
- Contact the seller by phone. As soon as possible, talk to the seller on the phone and ask lots of questions. If you get very vague answers, the seller gets defensive or aggressive, or they can’t confirm their location or the location of the vehicle, you’re probably dealing with a scammer.
- See the car before you buy it. Always do an in-person inspection and test drive before purchasing a vehicle.
- Do not give in to threats or pressure. Resist the urge to act immediately. Always take the time to consider a purchase, especially if it’s a vehicle that costs thousands of dollars.
- Do not transfer funds for a car. Scammers often ask for wire transfers because they’re hard to track and there’s no way to get your money back. It is best to make major purchases by check or credit card.
For more informationshey that BBB investigation into vehicle shipper and trusted third party scams. To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker. To find reputable companies, go to https://www.bbb.org.
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