Are you thinking about buying a used vehicle and have been perusing the internet looking for one? Before you do anything more about the purchase, read this blog.
The FBI National Press Office sent out a warning August 15, 2011 to be careful so you are not victimized by fraudulent vehicle sales and false claims of vehicle protection programs (VPP). Criminals are “selling” vehicles they do not own.
The hook is they are “selling” the vehicle below book value because they are moving due to work. Of course, since they are moving they can’t meet with the potential buyer. The FBI says, “The criminal instructs the victim to send full or partial payment to a third-party agent via a wire transfer payment service and to fax the payment receipt to the seller as proof of payment.”
You are probably already of ahead of me --- the criminal gets the money and the victim never sees the vehicle.
Another criminal ploy is to promise eBay Motors VPP coverage. The VPP is not applicable to transactions that originate outside of eBay Motors, and it prohibits wire-transfer payments. So, if you are promised VPP coverage outside eBay Motors, you know there is a problem.
The FBI says there is a clever new twist. Criminals provide live chat through email correspondence. They answer your questions about the phantom vehicle. In other words, they tell you what you want to hear.
The FBI provides the following “red flags” when buying a vehicle online:
- Seller is moving transaction from one platform to another, such as Craigslist to eBay Motors.
- Seller pushes to close the transaction and asks for payment by wire.
- Seller will not meet you in person or let you see the vehicle. Remember, you always need to have a used car checked by a reputable mechanic before making an offer.
- Seller says he has moved due to work and was unable to take the vehicle with him.
- Seller says he needs to sell now so the vehicle is listed below book value.
Keep away from the phantom vehicles. Know what you are buying and who you are buying it from.
What experiences have you had purchasing a car online?