Every day, hundreds of people are losing their hard-earned money trying to buy used cars. The pre-owned car market is very popular because if one looks hard enough, there are some really good deals to be found in that market. However, as with most markets, the used car market is attractive to scammers who are always on the hunt for their next victim. These scammers use Facebook and other online classifieds platforms like Gumtree and OLX to advertise nonexistent cars. Sometimes it’s not easy to differentiate between what is a scam and what is a legitimate sale.
The following are common signs of a scam:
- The price of the car is well below the market value. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.
- Scammers will refuse to provide sufficient contact details. The phone number provided is either faulty, remains unanswered or goes directly to voice mail
- Scammers turn off commenting on their posts so people can’t tell other people that the sale is a scam
- Scammers will usually make an excuse for not being available via telephone
- Scammers may demand the full price of the car, or a deposit, to be transferred immediately. Once they have received money they fail to release the vehicle and become difficult to contact
Scammers often claim to live overseas or have some kind of hidden agenda
Tips to avoid scams:
Never transfer or hand over cash to a seller if you have not seen and verified the vehicle
Always meet with the seller in person, preferably in a public place
Always do a history check on the vehicle to ensure that it’s not stolen and that the car’s details match those on the ownership registration and roadworthy documents
Check that the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) matches the number on the owner registration and roadworthy documents and that the VIN number on the car has not been tampered with.
Check that the seller’s address matches the address on the registration and roadworthy documents.
Research the car’s value by searching for similar models online. If the value of the car is far below what it should be, it could be a scam
Check the service history of the car
If you suspect fraud or are a victim of a scam, contact your nearest Police station immediately.
One way to ensure that you never fall victim to scams is to use an escrow service like Paysho when buying a used vehicle. With Paysho, you are guaranteed to either get what you pay for or, at the very worst, your money back. Click here to learn more about how Paysho works and how it can protect you from getting scammed.