Avoiding Internet Car Buying Scams: Consumer’s Guide

Avoiding Internet Car Buying Scams: Consumer’s Guide

Car buying scams are everywhere around us, but the fraudsters did not suffice with real-life scams; they now often opt for internet car buying scams which can be more complex and can leave the prospective buyer with no car and no money at all. Let us now see what are the most common ways to cheat online:

The price seems too good to be real

The scenario here is rather simple; the potential car shopper notices an appealing car in some website for a surprisingly low price. As soon as the buyer contacts the seller, someone informs them that the buyer will not be there for some time; however, they ship the vehicle as soon as they receive the payment. Usually, as soon as the seller receives the money, he/she becomes unreachable and the money disappears.

The seller asks you to make a wire transfer

Reputable and legit dealers do not ask for a wire transfer. If the seller introduces himself as a private seller and asks you to pay via wire transfer like the Western Union or MoneyGram then there is something wrong there. Note that if you send money via bank-to-bank transfers , it cannot be recovered anymore.

The trick with the escrow account

People who love to practice internet car buying scams usually create fake “escrow” accounts. They then ask unsuspecting online car buyers to send large amounts of funds to those fake accounts. The scammers do everything to make the buyer believe that these accounts are authentic. However, as soon as you send the money, you cannot recover it anymore.

Common Scenarios of Internet Car Buying Scams

These are the main scenarios of how internet car buying scams usually work. Following are a few brief tips that will help you avoid online car fraud:
  • Do not send money via bank-to-bank transfers
  • Always ask for a phone conversation with the dealer or the salesperson to see who they are and what they specifically do
  • Maybe it’s a good idea to first visit your local dealership before you make the decision of buying a car online
  • Opt for a vehicle that you can see with your own eyes and touch with your own hands
  • Do not believe to those people who say that their transactions are guaranteed by PayPal or eBay or platforms like these
  • Be careful from sellers who cannot wait until the deal is completed
  • Listen to your inner voice; if the deal seems inconsistent, then probably you should reconsider it
  • Check the escrow company that the seller has offered to use (call them by phone and check the website)
  • Check the information provided by the seller for typos, grammar errors, and other details
  • Do not trust the CARFAX report provided by the seller; instead, order your own vehicle history report
  • Do not provide anyone with your personal information such as credit card number or bank account details
Hope, these tips will help you avoid stressful situations while car shopping. If you have ever tried to purchase a car online, let us learn about your car buying experience. Feel free to comment below.