Automotive fraud has become quite common over the Internet since online sales for cars, trucks, vans and other forms of transportation have been increasingly purchased through sites like Craigslist, Ebay Classifieds, and autotrader.com. It mainly targets people looking to purchase luxury or sports car at a price well below the market value or average cars that are extremely inexpensive. For these reasons, car buyers are tempted to send money via the Internet and score a great deal on a new care.
Unfortunately, this is often a scam and the car is nonexistent. Individuals, who commit automobile fraud, will find pictures of a specific type of vehicle on the internet, and upload the pictures and additional details about the vehicle on a site that advertises used cars such as autotrader.com, cars.com or even "auction" style sites like Ebay.
When the scammer gets an email from a prospective buyer who is interested in the vehicle, they will inform the buyer that the vehicle is overseas and will need to be shipped. Therefore, the buyer can send a large deposit or full price of the car by wiring money either online or through a Western Union, with the promise that the payment covers shipping charges. The fraudsters often protect their identity by having the money wired to a fake agent of a third-party financial institution who offers purchase protection, however this part is also a scam. Unfortunately for the buyer, their car will never arrive and they are out of thousands of dollars.
On the flip side, there is another form of automobile fraud in which a supposed buyer of a vehicle emails the seller asking the vehicle identification number (VIN), claiming they would like to see the accident report of the vehicle for themselves before purchasing the vehicle. However, what they are actually doing is using the VIN to create forged documentation for a stolen car, and turn around and sell the vehicle; thus scamming two people in one single fraudulent action.
The first step to prevent being caught up in t his scam is to never purchase a vehicle over the Internet that is not local enough to where you can see it for yourself and verify the advertisements integrity. Most of these websites advertising cars for sale, give you the option to search by location which is really your best bet in order to protect yourself from being scammed out of money. If you do decide to purchase a vehicle over the Internet, remind yourself that "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is." Ask yourself why someone would be selling an expensive car with virtually nothing wrong with it, for such a low cost. But don't get caught up in the false stories some of these sellers will tell you in order to convince you that they just need the money right away. Ask a lot of questions about the vehicle before moving forward and use your best judgment.