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How to Spot an Online Car Sale Scam from a Mile Away

Posted by Gary Oak on 6 September, 2016

Online_Car_Sale_Scams.pngAdmit it, when it comes to purchasing a new or used car our excitement gets the best of us and, more often than not, that excitement could get exploited and get you in trouble. Trouble in terms having to pay more than you should, paying longer than you should, or losing your hard earned money altogether.

Believe me, when it comes to earning a little more money, some people are willing forget their values.

According to ABC, as of April 2016, 544 people have fallen victim to scammers and, if the trend continued, that number has probably doubled as of this writing.

Here are some proven tips that will help you avoid car sales scams online and offline.
1. If it's too good to be true, it probably is - I put this in the #1 spot because everybody knows this but still thousands upon thousands are getting fooled by impossible deals.
How to avoid this?

Relax. Take a step back and recognize the ridiculous. If the car is being sold at half the price or way below its market value then something must be wrong. It pays to be sceptical. It's your hard earned money anyway.
2. Look Out for Inconsistencies in the Pictures - I experienced this first hand and I still see a lot of online ads like this. Be wary of;
- Photoshopped or cropped pictures - Sometimes, scammers just grab pictures online and then they remove or Fake Car Sales Adschange the background. If you think that the picture may be photoshopped, zoom it really close and you will see inconsistencies in the edges of the car.
- Inconsistent color especially in the interior - It's crazy but scammers really do this because many people rarely notice. Be mindful of the little details because who knows what might happen if in case you met with the scammer.
3. Never transfer a down payment or put the payment in "escrow" - This is very common and, surprisingly, a lot of people fall victim to this. The seller/scammer will usually claim to be from out of town and will need you to pay extra, in advance, for transportation.

In some cases, the scammer may ask to hold the full payment in "escrow" while the car is in transit to you. It's usually a fake escrow and you wouldn't see either the car or your money ever again.
How to avoid this?

thumb-down-307175_640.pngNever agree to pay in advance especially if you haven't seen the car itself or the seller.

When it comes to buying a car, always be alert and keep your guard up. Scammers are masters of their craft so you have to be ahead of them and always be in control of the situation. They will trigger hot buttons to warm you up and get you off guard so you have to realize when this is happening and get your wits about you.


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Topics: Scams