Scammers work very hard to make sales online and never produce legitimate products to the people they scam money away from. This goes for electronics, jewelry, household goods and yes, even automobiles. The old saying “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true” holds a lot of bearing, especially when shopping online. While you may actually find someone who really needs to sale something of value for a very small price, the majority of those advertising small prices for valuable merchandise are most likely going to take your money and run. If you see a $280,000.00 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish listed on a website for sale for a mere $5000.00 you should know immediately that something is seriously wrong with the ad, or with the seller.
How Scammers Advertise
Scammers will offer bargains that seem exceptional and difficult to pass up. They know how to target people, especially automobile shoppers who are looking for a good deal on a car. They’ll go to genuine automobile sales sites and they will copy every bit of information about a car from the engine specifications to the color of the car and if there are any scratches, dents or rust spots on the car. Once they have this information, they’ll list the same car for sale on another site. Websites like eBay, that people use daily to make purchases, are often sites that these automobile scammers will use to lure unsuspecting patrons into their phony sales. When you find a car that is priced far lower than it should be, contact the person who is selling it and make arrangements to meet face to face to check the car in person.
Genuine sellers will be more than willing to meet you as they know that no one is going to buy a car sight unseen. Scam artists will never meet in person. They will tell the potential buyer that the car is in storage awaiting delivery but they will send you pictures. They will promise money back guarantees if the customer decides they don’t want the automobile once it has been delivered. Often times the scam seller will create a phony website as well as have a phony number for potential buyers to contact. These sites are frequently made to look like websites of legitimate automobile shipping companies. When people go to the site to pay for the car or they make a phone call to speak to someone, the scam seller will answer the call and identify themselves as a representative of the company. They use names of legitimate automobile transport companies because that way they can tell the potential buyer that the car is sitting there ready to ship to them. People have no idea they’re being scammed until the car they just spent $5000.00 on never arrives and suddenly the phone number has been disconnected and the website is taken down.
Ways to Spot an Online Automobile Scam
It really isn’t too terribly difficult to spot an online auto sale scam as long as you know what to look for. These scams are listed on many websites including eBay, Craigslist, Motor Trend and many others. Look out for the following scam tactics:
- Wire Transfer- The seller will say they need the money sent via electronic transfer because it makes it easier for them to collect as opposed to checks, debit or credit card or online payment systems. Wire transfers are typically anonymous payment transfers and scammers will usually want to remain anonymous at all times.
- Seller Recently Transferred to Work Out of the Country- Sure, there is always a chance that someone just recently had to relocate to Puerto Rico or Costa Rica for work, but when it comes to selling their car they tend to do so far before they actually move. Scammers will tell you they just moved and did not have time to sell the car prior to the move and since it is sitting in a garage or an automobile shipping terminal they can no longer afford to pay for storage and reluctantly, must sell at a far lower price than what the car is actually worth.
- How Low is the Price– When a seller tries to sell a valuable motor vehicles for $5000.00 or less you can almost guarantee it is a scam. This pricing is not just about trying to make someone think they have made the deal of a lifetime, but it also assists the scam seller on the off chance that they are caught in the scam. There are fewer legal penalties around the globe for lower amounts of robbery. Yes, robbery. Scamming someone for their hard earned money on a car that does not exist is in essence, robbing that person.
Many people find that when purchasing a motor vehicle, the best, and most reliable way to do so is the good old fashioned way of physically going to check the car in person and driving it to make sure the engine runs as it is supposed to. While online shopping from legitimate companies or individuals is usually safe and secure, automobile shoppers need to beware of scammers who are lurking in the shadows of websites for unsuspecting people to rob.
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