Buying anything online is pretty simple these days and on the whole it’s never been safer, but don’t let that cause you to completely drop your guard. There are still scam artists out there and they have some clever and elaborate tricks. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can stay safe.
The simplest way you can avoid scams is to simply stick to the old saying if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Online shopping is great fun. You see great deals on everything online and while you might take a risk on a great deal for model 2011 Cube bikes at a discount price, you can’t be as reckless when you are talking about thousands of pounds on a car.
Beware of “Paper Cars”
This refers to fake websites that copy pages from real adverts but drop the prices and try to entice you into handing over quick money. If you see a car that just seems too cheap, search for the exact details that are in the description and make sure that the exact same car isn’t on sale elsewhere. Scammers will clone the real thing and hope you’ll jump into a purchase because on the surface the advert looks completely real, but the car was never their own to sell.
Phantom Shipping Costs
Some scam websites will direct you to a “registered shipping expert” who will “deal with the export cost”. This is yet another way to get your details and take payments. Sometimes the “shipping costs” don’t exist, as the car you are buying is just sat in a warehouse in the same country as you, or even worse there is no car at all and they are getting you twice on the same fake purchase. Avoid this by using known trusted online dealers that have years of safe transactions.
Careful How You Pay
If a website requests payments even just a deposit through a payment website you have never heard of, be very careful. The well known sites have been going for years and most normal businesses will use them. If you are being redirected to some odd looking website, be alarmed.
People looking to sell cars are sometimes approached by fake companies that offer to “find buyers” for their cars. They’ll claim to have a buyer and to take care of the shipping and import costs up front. They’ll “sell” the car for 2000 (for example) and then “charge” the buyer (who doesn’t exist) 1000 for the shipping. The company will “collect” the total payment and send you a cheque for 3000. You get the cheque and bank it, then the company asks for the shipping costs to be sent back to them so they can pay it to the actual shipping company (that they “arranged”), which you do online. The cheque then bounces in your account ten days later and they’ve stolen 1000 from you.
Smith has been advising on scams and fake websites for a number years, both online and in print. Online web scams and bogus companies are everywhere, to learn more visit this page frequently to be ahead of the latest cons.