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Buying a new car is many things. It can be stressful, expensive, and also a thrill to get a new set of wheels. As you look through Kelly Blue Book, Craigslist, or eBay, you hope for a great deal on a reliable car.
However, if you buy a car from an online listing, you may be at risk of being scammed! According to the Federal Trade Commission’s 2019 “Put the brakes on phony online car sales” Consumer Information article, this happens a lot.
You see a car advertised on an online auction, such as the eBay Motors site.
The car looks great. It is precisely what you’re looking for, and they even offer you a “deal” if you can chat with them off the site. Or, they might say that you can buy the vehicle and it will be protected through a buyers protection program.
They don’t own the car you’re looking at or have a vehicle for sale!
They ask for your phone number, email address, or sensitive information.
The scammer might have several goals. One is quick cash (gift cards, money transfer, cash, in select cases, robbery) and the other might be your name, driver’s license number, Social Security number, etc. so that they can sell it online.
You have no way of knowing what someone will do with your information. Do not give it to them and keep communication on traceable sites. Only meet to view cars in safe, public, well-lit locations and bring a friend.
You receive an email or invoice. It seems to be legitimate.
Sellers have reported to the FTC that they receive fake emails which seek to duplicate “official” eBay Motors emails. These emails might request payment through eBay gift cards, iTunes, etc.
They may even contain phone numbers, but the numbers are fake. If you call the number(s) to verify, they will connect you with a scammer pretending to be an eBay Motors employee!
You see the car and go to a mechanic they choose.
Their mechanic vouches for the vehicle when it is actually in bad repair.
Look up reviews and complaints about the site you are using. This will help you to see how others have been scammed and learn from their mistakes.
When a seller is pressuring you to buy something you aren’t ready to buy, it may be a scam.
They claim there are additional fees which you must pay after already buying the car.
The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) should match the car you are buying with any paperwork you are provided. If the vehicle history report is for a vehicle with a different VIN, you’re being scammed.
Scammers prefer to be paid by wire transfer or gift cards if anyone asks for this method of payment. It is a scam.
Always (always!) see a car in person before you pay for it, even if you’re offered a fantastic deal or they give you excuses (they have a job interview, going through a divorce, they are away for work or military deployment). Do not pay for a vehicle you haven’t seen, driven, and had independently inspected.
Although online auto sale scams exist on eBay Motors, as well as other sites and apps, you can still purchase a car safely if you follow the above guidelines. Concerned about a vehicle for sale and want to make sure you don’t get tricked?
Berify can reassure you through an algorithm based reverse image search. Scammers aren’t expecting you to search for the image they stole from Google. Once you find out the truth, you can report their ad, content eBay, and keep your money safe. Berify uses a reverse image search you can use to protect yourself from scammers.
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Berify, located in Los Angeles, California is on a mission to allow the world to track their images online. From photographers to models, vloggers,lawyers and the average Joe, we help you find and track the use of your images online.
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