Scam Warning

It has never been easier to buy or sell a vehicle than it is now…thanks to the internet. The ability to upload and view photos and vehicle descriptions, and contact buyers and sellers – all with a click – have transformed the business, and people’s experience of buying and selling. 

However, the internet has also made it easier for dishonest buyers and sellers to defraud larger numbers of people, so there are several things you need to be aware of before going online to buy or sell a vehicle.

Tips for Avoiding Fraudulent Online Vehicle Sales:

  • If it appears too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Think hard before sending any money! Always be suspicious no matter how good a deal it seems, no matter how convincing the seller is and no matter how small an amount.
  • Use the Internet to research the advertised item and the seller’s name, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and other unique identifiers.
  • Use the Internet to research the company’s contact information and its shipping and payment policies before completing a transaction. Ensure the legitimacy of the contact information and that the company accepts the requested payment option.
  • Avoid sellers who refuse to meet in person, or who refuse to allow the buyer to physically inspect the item before the purchase.
  • Ask for the vehicle’s VIN, license plate (if possible), and the name of the individual to whom the car is currently registered.
  • Criminals take extra effort to disguise themselves and may have recognizable words in their e-mail name or domain. If you are suspicious or unsure about an e-mail that claims to be from a legitimate business, locate the business online and contact them directly.
  • Fraudulent buyers – thieves posing as potential purchasers – who offer the entire vehicle value paid via a PayPal or similar account created with false credit card details.

Common scam at the moment “Virtual vehicle”

The ‘virtual vehicle’ scam involves fake shipping websites that promise to handle and look after your money.

Once you respond and express interest in buying the car – which is currently located abroad – you are directed to a fake website for a shipping company that will handle the transfer of funds including shipping costs.

In theory the shipping company will transfer the funds to the vehicle seller when you have taken delivery and confirm that you are happy with the vehicle.

In practice, the funds may be transferred but the vehicle never appears.

Do remember that most vehicle sales are successful and legitimate deals particularly when buying or selling through an established car dealer.

Please note that the above tips are designed to be a guide and not a form of guarantee by us, seek professional help if in doubt.