How to spot a scam when buying and selling cars online?
As the internet users grow fast, the online automotive marketplace also has tremendously grown fast as it is easier to buy and sell vehicles on the secondary market. But don’t ignore the fact that scammers are also moving to the internet.
Whether you are on the market for brand-new or slightly used vehicles, you always must safeguard yourself against the potential risk of losing your hard-earned money to these online scammers. Spend some time researching so that you can avoid being a victim of a car scam.
Car scam alert
Common red flags when buying a car
Keep these warning signs in mind when purchasing a car online:
- Fake listings on classified websites. Classified websites can be a potential medium for online scamming. They tend to post a fake listing by copying the same information from a legitimate one of the same website or others. They usually post these listings at very attractive prices within a limited timeframe, thus, attracting more victims in a hurry.
- The seller’s and car’s identities don’t match. Always ask the seller for proof of identity. This includes government-issued IDs like SSS/UMID and driver’s license. Make a full check if the name and address match on the vehicle’s registration form. Make sure that the vehicle registration form is original and not a copy, then check for evidence of tampering.
- The seller insists on wire transfer payment in advance. Online scammers usually insist you make a payment in advance using wire transfer services, like MoneyGram or Western Union, before shipping the car. Other scammers nowadays use GCash or account deposit as a medium of fund transfer. Legitimate car sellers don’t use these modes of payment.
- The seller avoids pre-purchase inspection. A pre-purchase inspection is a good way to determine hidden defects of the car you want to buy. Though it costs you to pay for an auto mechanic, it saves you a lot from uncovering defects that you may have missed before pushing the deal.
Common red flags when selling a car
Watch out for these common warning signs when selling cars online:
- Fraudulent fake deposit. A scammer may ask for your bank account number and name to send money to your account. After a few hours, he will send you a fake validated bank deposit slip claiming that he had made a payment for the car purchased. Don’t just rely on the validated deposit slip, make some effort to check your balance online or call your bank to verify the deposit of the same amount.
- Promise of future payment. A dishonest buyer may promise you a staggered payment arrangement or wait until he gets the next paycheck before paying you. This could be a sign that the buyer will not pay after he got the car.
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