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Beware of Fraudulent Used Car Sellers

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 5 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
Fraudulent Used Car Con Artist Sales

Not all advertisements selling used cars are what they seem. Sometimes fraudulent ads are placed by con artists posing as used car sellers. A lot of these scams are fairly unsophisticated and by being alert a buyer can avoid the traps.

Buyers should beware if repeated attempts to contact the seller by telephone lead to every call being diverted to voicemail, or if the telephone number appears to be invalid or faulty. Be just as wary if a seller claims they are unable to use the telephone. One tactic used by fraudulent sellers is to allege that for one reason or another – it may be an illness, deafness, an accident or simply a business trip – they cannot use the phone and can be reached only via email.

A con artist will then ask for a deposit or the full price of the used car to be wired to them and, once the money has been received, will give an excuse as to why the vehicle cannot be released. The fraudster may then ask for more money to be transferred or will disappear and become impossible to contact.

Be Cautious

Buyers need to be cautious if an advertisement or emails are littered with spelling mistakes and bad grammar, as this is a trait of fraudulent ads. Never hand over hard-earned cash until the car has been viewed or until satisfied that both the used car and the seller are genuine. Even then, there is no need to give a large deposit, so do not be pressured into it. Most genuine dealers will be satisfied with a small deposit to hold a used car.

A more sophisticated scam employed by con artists is the use of a fraudulent escrow service on the internet. A legitimate escrow service will hold money during sales and will only pay the seller once the buyer has accepted delivery of the goods. There are a number of fraudulent escrow services operating, however, and buyers who fall into this trap risk losing their money and never receiving a used car.

Fraudsters will place fake ads – usually with a bargain price to attract a buyer’s attention – and if a buyer makes an enquiry, the con artist will suggest using a particular escrow service he has used successfully on a number of occasions.

False Logos

The fake escrow website will typically feature false logos and copyright details to make it appear legitimate. It may even include a telephone number – usually a mobile phone number disguised as a foreign landline – but once the buyer has transferred money, either to the escrow website or to the seller at the request of the website, the seller will disappear. Any email address used by the seller will be free and web-based, and therefore untraceable and any mobile number will be changed.

Authentic escrow websites never contact customers asking for money to be sent directly to the other party, rather the payment is made to the company. If concerned about the legitimacy of an escrow service, put the company’s name into an internet search engine, as an authentic escrow service will have numerous results listed, whereas a fake one will not. The escrow website should be secure and list both an address and a landline telephone number for the company.

A buyer should test the telephone number and make sure he gets to talk to someone. Test the escrow company’s email address too and if they do not respond do not send any money. Contact Companies House or the Financial Services Authority to check the authenticity of a company.

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For public looking for a used car to buy, the majority would probably go about hunting for one by visiting car dealers. Not only is this time overwhelming, bearing in mind the time it takes for you to tour from one car dealer to the next, it also concerned too much hassles having to deal with salespeople. Well, I don’t recognize about you but I undoubtedly do not like the idea of salespeople trying to modify your belief on certain cars or converse you into something you are not fascinated in. Searching for a used car sales online absolutely beats doing it the usual way.
melaniestomblin - 24-Dec-11 @ 12:23 AM
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