Useful information

How to recognize a scams in car ads?

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Most scams involve one or more of the following:

  • Long-distance buyer or seller
  • Offer includes a cashier's check, postal money order, Western Union, or escrow service (BidPay, Squaretrade, etc.)
  • Refusal to meet face-to-face

You can easily recognize a scam, if remember these types of fraud.

  1. Distant seller indicates they will guarantee the transaction through the some fictitious Protection Program.
    - These programs do not exist!!
    - Seller will request a down payment, and will provide detailed documentation of the "protection program."
  2. Distant buyer offers a high-value (but fake) cashier's check in exchange for your item.
    - You receive an odd email offering to buy your item site unseen.
    - Cashier's check is offered for your sale item, as a deposit for a part.
    - Value of cashier's check often far exceeds your item - buyer asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service.
    - Banks will often cash these fake checks AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR.
    - Scam often involves a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate owing buyer money, etc)
  3. Distant seller requests payment via Western Union or MoneyGram: 
    - Seller often claims that an MTCN or confirmation code is needed before he can withdraw your money - this is FALSE, once you've wired money, it is GONE. 
    - Common countries currently include: Nigeria, Romania, Ukraine, Spain, UK, Italy, Netherlands - but could be anywhere.
    - Deal often seems too good to be true.
  4. Distant seller offers to send you a cashier's check and then have you wire money: 
    - This is ALWAYS a scam, in our experience - the cashier's check is FAKE.
    - Sometimes accompanies an offer of merchandise, sometimes not.
    - Scammer often asks for your name, address, etc. for printing on the fake check.
    - Deal often seems too good to be true.
  5. Distant seller suggests use of an online escrow service.
    - Most online escrow sites are FRAUDULENT, operated by scammers.
    - For more info, do a Google search on "fake escrow" or "escrow fraud".
    - If you must do business with a distant seller, insist on a legitimate service, such as
  6. Distant seller asks for a partial payment upfront, after which he will ship goods.
    - He says he trusts you with the partial payment.
    - He may say he has already shipped the goods.
    - Deal often sounds too good to be true.

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