If you’re looking to buy a second-hand vehicle, watch out for used car scams.
Buying a used car from an individual, as opposed to a dealer, can mean getting a good deal but can also mean that you have little protection as a buyer. For this reason, it is important to be extremely careful throughout the entire process when shopping for a second-hand automobile. Otherwise you can easily fall victim to used car scams.
In the U.S., the FBI reports that used car scams are on the rise. But how do they work and what are the ways to avoid falling victim if you’re on the hunt for a used car yourself?
Classic Used Car Scams
You’re looking for your next car and see a great deal online. The price seems remarkably low and the pictures are exactly what you’re looking for. Contact information is listed, usually an email address and a phone number.
When you reach out to get more information, the apparent seller may give you an excuse as to why the price is so low and why he is so eager to sell the car quickly. These excuses can include moving to a different location, selling the car of a loved one who passed away and more.
The seller will not want to meet in person in order to have you check out the car yourself. Instead, you will be instructed to buy prepaid gift cards in the amount agreed upon for the car. You will need to send the gift card codes to the seller and then you should receive the car in a few days.
Then the seller disappears. You won’t hear from him again and, therefore, you’ll hear nothing new about the car. You will be out of your money, with no car. At that point it suddenly hits you: You’re the victim of a used car scam.
How Can I Avoid Becoming a Victim?
There are a few things to keep in mind when looking to buy a new car. We recommend:
- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If a car is way below market value, something is probably wrong with the deal. You should always be wary of such offers, especially when they are advertised on platforms like Craigslist. Craigslist used car buyer scams are a known phenomenon.
- Always inspect a used car yourself before buying. You should never purchase a car (or any other expensive item) without checking out the item yourself. In the case of a used car, it is also often recommended to take the car to your garage to check it out as well. You should also check the car’s history to make sure that it was serviced at regular intervals by authorized mechanics.
- Pay using an acceptable method. This includes check, cash and bank transfer. Always receive a signed receipt as proof of payment from the seller and pay when you will receive the car, not in advance. Ideally, the receipt should be notarized as well, since the notary public will be required to verify the seller’s name and address.
- Beware of used car financing scams. There are unscrupulous used car dealerships that are known to convince you to sign on the dotted line by promising preferential interest rates that ultimately never materialize. In order to avoid a used car financing scam in the event you take out a loan arranged by the dealer, be sure that the interest rate is competitive and the paperwork is completed in advance of the automobile’s purchase.
Unfortunately, it is incredibly easy to fall victim to used car scams when buying second-hand automobiles. Make sure to take all steps necessary to protect yourself from getting into a bad deal.
If you think you’ve been the victim of a used car scam, contact the fund recovery experts at MyChargeBack.