Have you ever come across a vehicle for sale that seems too good to be true? It probably is.
Who Is It Targeting: Buyers interested in used cars, motorcycles, boats, RVs, and more
What Is It: A bait-and-switch scam involving long-distance shipping
What Are They After: Buying a used vehicle is a great way to save money, but it’s also a potential avenue to theft. In this old but still recurring scam, the seller lists a vehicle and offers to use a third-party escrow company to hold your payment. At the same time, they claim a shipping company will bring the vehicle to you for a test drive. If you’re satisfied with the vehicle and its condition, the escrow company will release your funds to the seller.
This is not new, but it continues to dupe victims around the country. The first warning bell should be the escrow/shipping company offer, as it’s standard practice in this scam. That’s not to say that there aren’t legitimate sales out there, though, so you’ll have to be cautious and do your homework.
How Can You Avoid It:
- If you’re given the option to pay up front in escrow and have a shipping company deliver the vehicle, contact both companies immediately about the ad you saw. There’s a good chance they’ve already had others fall for it.
- If the seller claims you have to use the escrow/shipping system due to safety, that’s understandable. But tell the seller you’re coming to his city and would like to meet at a safe place, like the police station parking.
- If the seller is unwilling to meet you face-to-face, even in a secure location, that should be enough of a warning about a possible scam.
If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. Find more information about current scams and alerts here.
For full details of this scam check out this article from KWCH.com.