Although the scam, the scam, is something that has accompanied man since the beginning of time, ingenuity seems to get worse in times of crisis, when we look for impossible offers before which one can blind oneself and then fall into the networks of those who concocted the deception.
The Internet is a breeding ground that has not helped in this regard, on the contrary, it is the main source of deception and scams that affect -of course- the sector of the sale of vehicles (cars and motorcycles). Not in vain is it the main channel through which most people are interested in selling advertising, but … be careful! it is also where those who seek to deceive the unwary do it.
In order not to fall on all fours into this type of deception, we have wanted to share with you some of the most common scams as well as some small tips to help you when it comes to buying or selling your car or motorcycle safely.
In most cases the contact occurs through email and the buyers or sellers are foreigners with which they contact through email, they rarely use the phone as we all do when we are interested in an article of this type.
Let’s see which are the most used methods:
When buying a vehicle
Buying a vehicle has the same or more risk than selling it, before “releasing the money” you have to be attentive to some signs that can give away the supposed seller.
• The pay and sign: the hook is a price below the market, very attractive, quite requested models, … when showing interest they ask you for an advance as pay and sign to reserve it (between 200 and 3,000 euros), once I pay you never hear from them again, or your money. The scammer usually resides outside of Spain, making it almost impossible to catch him.
• The intermediary: today the Internet is a great showcase in which to inform ourselves about all types of vehicles for sale. There are several portals dedicated to the sale of vehicles that are used both by sellers, buyers, and scammers themselves. The scam comes when they spoof the identity of said web pages and offer to act as intermediaries between you and the seller for a secure transaction. It may also be that they contact you directly on behalf of a company to offer you this service, usually to buy cars abroad. Everything is false and the only thing they want is for you to make a payment to later disappear with the money.
• The sale of the stolen vehicle: Like the first case, the hook is priced well below market and the rush to sell it. The name change is usually done through agencies so that they do not detect in time (by the license plate or chassis number) that it is stolen. Weeks after purchasing your vehicle, the police will notify you that it is stolen and will proceed to immobilize it until the judge determines its destination. To avoid this type of scam, check at any DGT headquarters in what state the vehicle is and make sure that the chassis number is visible and that it has not been modified.
• The unpaid credit. The scammer buys a vehicle by financing it and sells it within 24 hours (scamming the buyer). So when it tries to register it in Traffic it is impossible because it already has a domain reservation (with pending debt). The scammer disappears with the amount paid and stops paying the debt.
Before doing any vehicle sale operation, we must be attentive to any sign that may make us suspicious. Faced with any of them, we should abort the sale until we investigate a little more about the alarm that has made us react.
For this, we give you some general tips that can help you be alert to a situation of this type and prevent you from being deceived by a criminal.
When selling your vehicle
• The check: The buyer (normally a foreigner) contacts you and agrees to send you a check as payment. When it arrives it turns out that the amount is higher than the agreed amount. The alleged buyer recognizes the error and asks you to deposit the difference in a bank account. Once you have transferred the amount, and after a few days (the bank is unable to see it at the time), when you request their approval you check that the check has no funds (see a little below the “scam in English”).
• Forgery of documents: The buyer tells you that he is interested in your vehicle, but that you send him by email scanning the relevant documentation to verify that the data you have given is real. By doing so you will never hear from him again, however, your documentation will be used by scammers to document stolen cars and be used in all kinds of scams. Do not send any document by email, ever.
• The bank transfer: The buyer sends you a bank transfer confirmation (or payment order) (normally the bank used is Bank of Essex) as payment for the item you are selling, obviously this transfer confirmation is false.
• Testing the motorcycle: not all scams occur on the Internet, another very common in the world of motorcycles and that we have detected is that of the person who comes to see your motorcycle and decides to test it. The individual never arouses suspicions, is well dressed, speaks correctly and politely, asks to test the motorcycle for a ride, and never appears again. Before letting anyone test any vehicle, ask for the documentation and keep it in your pocket until it arrives. Even so, it is best to accompany you while you test the vehicle.
• Black money: in the case of high-end vehicles, the buyer offers us a large amount of money in hand, without taxes, without bank income (we are talking about luxury cars), he makes us an income in the bank in a legal way and the rest is paid by hand, in bills.
When you have the vehicle in your possession we will surely realize that this payment in black is made with fake bills. The seller, for fear of a possible fine, ends up not reporting the scammer and he gets a luxury car for half the market price.
• The English scam : (there is the variant that we explain and the inverse variant, buy and/or sell). They will contact you (whether you sell or buy), they always act in the same way, that it is called “English scam” does not mean that it is of that nationality. First, they will tell you that they cannot come to see the car or bring it to you, that they reside in another country but want to close the deal quickly.
For this, they send you a check higher than the amount you ask for, when they “realize” they kindly ask you to pay them the difference by Western Union or similar. Once the difference (or down payment) is paid, the individual disappears. After a month you will see that the check had no funds and you will be left with a fool’s face.