A few safety rules...
When you buy your first car or simply want to change the old one with a newer or better one, it is normal to search for the best price available. But if that price is too good, be careful and allocate your time to study the market, because there are individuals whose sole purpose is deceiving and defrauding buyers confidence in good faith.
Some signs when a car you just found is fictitious, not genuine or possible fraud:
1. Price very low for the year of manufacture, mileage or facilities.
2. The pictures are very well done, most often they are taken from the Internet.
3. Description presents a car in excellent condition, with many facilities and equipment.
4. No phone number (or if there is an incorrect number or not in service).
5. The seller communicates only by email, NOT phone, then he comes with a good story to gain your trust.
6. Watch out for sob stories. Buying and selling is purely a business transaction. If the seller shares information about their private life, then it could be a sign that they’re preparing to scam you.
7. The seller asks "a guarantee" to be sure you do not change your mind, so proposes to use Western Union or Money Gram or to send a small advance, or to submit an account equivalent value of the car, in your name, or will find another way to convince you to give him credibility and pay in advance.
So please be very careful to offers too good to be true, because, most often, are not true.
How to avoid car-buying scams:
- NEVER wire money or use a bank-to-bank transfer in a transaction!
- NEVER wire any money to a buyer - they’re supposed to be sending you money!
- ALWAYS try to deal locally when buying or selling an automobile!
- DO NOT sell or buy a car from someone who is unable or unwilling to meet you face to face!
- NEVER buy a car that you have not seen in real life and had inspected by a professional! A vehicle history report may also be a good idea, though scammers have been known to use fake vehicle identification numbers to defeat this countermeasure.
- WAIT until a check (personal, cashier’s, certified, or otherwise) has cleared the bank to transfer title or the car itself. Funds being made available by a bank DOES NOT mean the check is not counterfeit. Clearing a check can take days or weeks depending on the financial institutions involved. Check with your bank about their particular processes for clearing checks.
- NEVER trust a seller or buyer who says that the transaction is GUARANTEED by eBay, PayPal or other online marketplace. These sites explicitly DO NOT guarantee that people using their services are legitimate.
- BEWARE sellers or buyers who want to conclude a transaction as quickly as possible. Scammers want to get your money before you have time to think or have a professional examine the deal.
- CALL the buyer or seller to establish phone contact. If the buyer or seller seems to neglect details agreed to via e-mail or is unable to answer questions about their location or the location of the automobile in question, it is likely to be a scam.
- ALWAYS trust your gut. If a deal feels “fishy” or sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Plenty of people use online classified ads to buy and sell cars every day. The vast majority of these transactions are legitimate and go smoothly. Losing out on a “great” deal in order to work with someone you trust could save you big in avoiding a possible scam.