Car Sales - Scams & Frauds
Fake advertisements offering used vehicles for lower than expected prices continue to appear on Australian car websites, online classifieds and online auction sites.
If you are in the market for a good deal on a used vehicle, make sure you do your homework and know how to look out for scams.
Be cautious in dealing with car sellers that are overseas and always arrange to:
View the vehicle prior to the transfer of any money.
If the offer looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Verify that the person on the other end is genuine. Check all the contact details.
Always ensure you talk to seller on the phone.
If the number in the ad is disconnected, be wary. If the buyer/seller says it is disconnected because they are overseas, ask for a landline phone number at their current location, as well as a mobile phone number.
If they give you a street address, check on Google Street View what is actually at that address.
Common scams you should be aware of when selling your car include:
Offers to buy sight-unseen - A buyer offering to buy your car without looking at it first should be considered a warning sign
Paying with checks or money orders - While it isnt always the case, a common scam is to pay the seller with a check or money order thats fake
Overpayment - In this case, a buyer will tell you that someone else owes him or her money that is more than the cost of your car.
Payment plans - A promise to make monthly payments is usually not a good way to go. Since you arent a finance company
and have no way to collect if a buyer misses or stops payments, its best to avoid these offers.
Asking for personal information - Some buyers may promise to wire money to obtain personal information, such as:
Social Security numbers
Bank account information
Credit card numbers
This may be an attempt at identity theft
What to do if you have been scammed:
Contact your bank or credit union - If youre not sure if youre being scammed, stop sending money. Scammers will keep asking for more money until you stop.
Recover your stolen identity - If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, it is important that you act quickly to reduce your risk of financial loss or other damages. You can contact iDcare - a free government-funded service which will work with you to develop a specific response plan to your situation and support you through the process
Report scams to the authorities - By making a report to the appropriate agency, you help them identify scammers and warn other people about the scam.
Alert others to the scam - If the scammer first made contact through a website, social media, by email or phone, contact the relevant company with the scammer’s details. Your report will help them take action to disrupt scams.
Change your online passwords - If you think your computer or device has been hacked, you should run a full system check using a reliable virus checker. Once this is complete, you should change all your online passwords that you have used from that computer.
Avoid follow up scams
Scammers will often try to take advantage when you’re feeling vulnerable and try to extract more money from you through a follow up scam. For example, a scammer may say they are from a law enforcement agency and will investigate your case for a fee. Or they may contact you with a completely different scam. Be alert to follow up scams at all times.
Date Published: Sep 16 2017 6:35AM
Date Edited: Sep 21 2017 10:23AM