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Fred's Auto Removal | Cash for Junk Cars Portland > Blog > Uncategorized

How To Avoid Junk Car Sales Scam

Still remember how you felt when you got your first car? I mean the one you paid for, not from dad or your company. I still remember mine. Now, years have passed, and you just had to get a new one, but of course it’s never so easy to dump a first love. You just continue keeping the car until you get threatened (probably by your three year old daughter) to sell the junk.

There will always be those who take advantage of other’s ignorance to rob them of their hard earned money. These pirates, exists in all aspects of life, including the automobile industry. Nothing is immune from scams, not even your seemingly abandoned junk car.

Our post today will be talking about some scams to watch out for, how to spot these scams and best of all, precautions to take. After all, prevention is always better than cure. Better safe than sorry. But in case you’ve fallen victim, we would also give some helpful tips on what to do, hopefully, you might be able to recover whatever you lost.

Junk Car Sales Scam to Watch Out For

  1. Buyer Wanting To Pay Through Cheque or Money Orders: Ordinarily, this shouldn’t be an issue, as it’s perfectly normal to issue cheques or money orders for payment. The problem however, arises when the buyer insists on writing above the price you have both agreed on. This tactic plays out by asking you to refund the excess, only for you to now realize the cheque or the money order has a fault after sending off your own money.

Most times, your car would have already been cleared for shipping and even left the dock by the time your cheque and money issues are resolved. The cost of wanting to get back your car is usually more than it’s worth. That’s why reaching out to a local junk yard like Fred Auto Removal is a wise decision. Such cheques and money orders are almost always fraudulent and in some cases connected with financial crimes. Going to the bank with it could land you in a police investigation after you’ve spent your own funds trying to sort out the issues.

  1. Buying Without Inspection: Your warning bells should ring with abandon when a prospective buyer seeks to buy your junk car without a physical inspection first. It’s likely he would send a different person to pick up the car and give you a cheque or promise to wire the money. Often, you only realize you’ve been scammed when you go to the bank to cash the cheque and you’re told it is fake or it bounces, or the promised wired money never arrives. You then end up with more troubles and still “car-less.”
  2. The Bait and Switch Tactic: Rugged business people use it to get their foot in the door. While this tactic might work well in some other business situations. Experiencing it relating to a sale of your junk car could be a clear sign of scam. What usually happens in a bait and switch tactic situation is that you reach out to a junk car yard to sell your junk car, they give you a quote which you both agree on. On the day the car is to be picked up, their representative suddenly gives you a different quote, usually lower than the sum earlier agreed.

Stick your ground and refuse to get tricked or intimidated into accepting the lower quote. It’s possible when they see you’re not biting the bait, they eventually pay what has been agreed previously. Do not allow them make you feel you won’t get a better offer, there are several other reputable junk car yards around.

  1. Creditor Payment Tactic: This scam usually involves more than one person. Your buyer tells you he wishes to buy your car junk, but that there is a Mr. Debtor somewhere owing him an amount, which could be higher or lower than the quote for your car. And that’s not all, the scammer further tells you to send him the balance from the cheque that’s in excess of the cost of your car. It’s only after you’ve parted ways with your car and sent extra money that you discover it was all a scam.
  2. Using An Illegitimate Escrow Service: An escrow service serves as a middle man for high risk transactions like the sale of your car junk. Before accepting to sell your car through an escrow service, ensure it’s a well known one and not one you’ve never heard of. The escrow service could’ve been orchestrated by the scammer. Once you’ve passed ownership to them, they would simply vanish into thin air!
  3. Payment By Installment: Unless you’re dealing with someone you know personally, and even that is also risky, do not accept payment by installment. You’re not a lending company or a bank, so recoering your money in event of default would be a big problem. Steer clear of a buyer who requests a monthly payment plan.
  4. Faulty Transfer of Ownership: When turning over your car to a junk yard, ensure you make a proper transfer of ownership. Be certain that all rights and obligations of the car you’re selling has been completely transferred to the buyer. Failure to ensure this could result in your getting involved in criminal activities or violations you know nothing about. Some buyers could be buying your car with the intention of using it for organised criminal activities, and then dump the car when done with their projects. If ownership has not been completely and appropriately transferred, you could get tangled up in a mess not of your making.
  5. Requesting For Personal Information Before Sending Payment: This type of scam is usually used for identity theft. Beware when a buyer starts asking for details like your bank account number, social security number or credit card numbers. Do not release such personal information without being sure it is being given to a legitimate cause.

Buyers Are Vulnerable Too

We’ve spent several paragraphs enlightening you on different car junk sales to avoid, but from the seller’s perspective. Buyers too are vulnerable to car junk sales scam. That’s why at Fredsautoremoval.com we follow due diligence before buying your cars. We also ensure we have all the documents in place.

Precautions To Take To Avoid Junk Car Sales Scam

Better safe than sorry. Are there precautions you can take to avoid tales that touch the heart when it comes to sale of your car junk? Yes! Check out these points.

  1. Document Everything: Document here means record, so the record of the events do not necessarily need to be on paper. It can be any form of documentation: text, audio or video. Make sure you also have a copy of every paper that is involved in the transaction, including signed ones. So that if an investigation comes up later on relating to your car junk sale transaction, you will have all the supporting documents to exonerate yourself.

Sell Locally: Chances of you being scammed by someone in your locality are very low, unlike when you ship the car overseas.

Verify Payments Before Shipping Overseas: Having someone from overseas wanting to buy your car? Then ensure you have cleared all payments before sending the car off.

Verify Payment Before Transferring Title or Property: If you received a cheque or money order for payment of your car. First verify that the cheque is valid at a branch of the issuing bank. It’s easier and much faster for you to do this verification at the issuing bank, rather than waiting for the cheque to clear with your own bank.

Use Escrows: A middle man to hold your car and release only when payment has been made is rendering escrow services. Or the middle man might hold your payment made by the buyer and release to you when you hand over the car.

Do Not Use Unknown Escrow Service: An illegitimate escrow service is as good as having no escrow service, because instead of being there for your protection, they are only there for their gain and to scam you. So, when a buyer suggests buying through an unknown escrow service with an air of taking steps to protect you, beware. Since not all unknown escrows are illegitimate, research about the escrow first before agreeing to use them. You can visit the Better Business Bureau, either online or offline.

Schedule Meetings in Public Locations: Are you meeting a stranger to sell your car to? Agree to meet only at a public location to avoid situations like kidnapping or something worse. Meeting in an isolated area could even get your car stolen from you. Fred Auto Removal is located in a well known area, rest assured you have nothing to worry about dealing with us.

Screen Prospects and Ask for Means of Identification: Did you place an advert for the sale of your car junk and now you’ve been receiving calls from prospective buyers? Take time to screen these callers. Once you perceive the caller is trying to scam you, follow your guts and end the call immediately. Don’t give the scammer an opportunity to lure you further.

How do you scan callers? By asking for driver’s license information which you are to look up to be sure you’re dealing with someone legitimate. A scammer would likely be reluctant to give such information. Another way to screen is by using Google and asking around. Did they say they have a website? Check the website out.

Set Up A Test Drive or Physical Inspection: Like I mentioned when discussing about the different types of scams you might encounter, a buyer who doesn’t ask for a test drive of physical inspection is most likely a scam. Before sending of the car or receiving payment, make sure the buyer agrees to a test drive and physical inspection. Find a public place to meet, using your private residence might not be a wise thing to do. During the meeting, you can then ask to see their driver’s license or other documents you might need to verify their identity.

Never Accept Monthly Payment: You are not a bank, so why should you collect monthly payment? The instalment scam usually means the buyer could default after a month and vanish into thin air with the rest of your money and of course, the car.

Always Keep Personal Information That Way – Personal: Do not be in a haste to start dishing out all your personal info to a stranger. Remember we’ve earlier discussed that this could turn out to be identity theft. Information like your credit card numbers, social security number, account number and other important info someone could use for identity theft shouldn’t be given out.

Fill Transfer Forms, Bill of Sale And Release of Liability: Usually those involved in buying of car junks will have a standard transfer form for you to fill. If your buyer seems not to have one for you, that could be a red flag. Transfer forms are used to sign over title to the property. Bill of sale record that money passed hands in exchange for something: a car. The Release of Liability, which you can get from your state, will protect you against future liabilities, violations and other issues that the new owner may incur like tickets.

Be Patient: Most persons are usually in a hurry to sell off their car junk. This only ends up putting them at a high risk of being scammed. So, rather than selling to the first person that calls, do your homework well and be patient until the right buyer comes along.

What To Do If You’ve Been Scammed

Recovering your car after a scam can be tedious and most time efforts usually aren’t made to recover the car since the cost could be much more than the worth of the car. All the same, if you have been or feel you are about to be scammed, promptly make a report to any of the following:

  1. Your local law enforcement agency.
  2. Your local Police Station.
  3. The National Consumers League
  4. The Internet Crime Complaint Center. The string of activities for such scam most times begin online.
  5. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
  6. Bureau of Justice.
  7. The National White Collar Crime Center.

What differentiates the scam victim from the one who wasn’t scammed is just information. We hope with these you can spot the scammer!

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There’s no law in Portland saying that a person can’t have more than one car. As long as they can afford them and a find a legal place to park them, then they can have as many vehicles as they like. But, when someone has multiple junk vehicles on their property, this is what sometimes poses a problem. It’s not even that the police won’t try and work with you if you have a junk vehicle (or vehicles). In fact, in most instances they try to get the owner of the vehicle to cooperate with them. But, if the owner ignores them and doesn’t comply, that car, truck or SUV is going to eventually get tagged for removal, and ultimately towed away from the property.

These types of junk vehicle rules are definitely not just for the state of Oregon, and similar ones apply to many different cities and counties across the nation. But being that many of the readers of this blog are located in Portland and surrounding areas, it’s important for them to know what qualifies as a junk vehicle. There may be people who are new to the area who are unfamiliar with the specific rules and regulations, or there may be local folks who’ve been living in the area for a while who need a reminder of what they are! No one wants to get their vehicle towed inadvertently.

One main thing to know about junk vehicles is that in Oregon you can’t get a title for one unless you purchased the vehicle within the State. According to Oregon.gov, you have to go through the State that originally issued you the ownership title to attain a junk vehicle title. A junk vehicle is classified as any one that is dismantled or can’t be repaired. They’re also labeled as vehicles that can only be used for parts and/or scrap vehicles. The State where you originally bought the car makes the determination of whether or not the vehicle can be rebuilt.

When someone makes a complaint about towing a junk car on a nearby property in the neighborhood, the City of Portland is not the bureau that they should call. In fact, on their website they provide the correct number to the Abandoned Auto Hotline. That doesn’t mean that the city won’t follow up on any complaints, and they will send an inspector to the property that has the abandoned or junk vehicle. The inspector will take a look around the car and look for visible signs that it’s not an up-and-running vehicle, such as missing engine parts, broken windows, or busted tires.

When the inspector makes the determination that it is in fact an abandoned, disabled, or junk vehicle, they’ll hit it with a tag warning. City Code Title 29 says that if there is a vehicle that is disabled on a property it has to be enclosed in a place such as a garage. The only way the vehicle could remain freely seen by passers-by is if the property was an actual business that dealt in junk vehicles. The limit for it not being enclosed on your property is 7 days, and in addition to the tag warning the owner will receive a letter in the mail that informs them of what their responsibilities are concerning that car, truck, or SUV.

Sometimes when owners receive this letter, certain emotions come to the surface. This is because many people feel that as long as the property is theirs that they should be able to park anything anywhere on it. And, when they do feel like that, they do have the right to act by contesting the warning letter that they received in the mail. If they want to do that, they have to do so before the junk vehicle is towed away, by going through their local Code Hearings Officer.

Counties across Oregon make it very easy for people to understand how to report an eyesore vehicle in their neighborhood by giving them direct instructions how to do so online. Washington County is one of those places that streamlines the process for its citizens, making it easy for them to understand what the local code violations are by listing them openly on their website. For example, when it comes to running vehicles, a person can’t have more than four of them on their private property in Washington County, but having any junk vehicles is a violation. Oregon DMV says that the owner of a vehicle that has been pronounced totaled has 30 days to get a reconstructed (or salvage) title for it.

Other places in the State, such as the City of Newberg, see abandoned vehicles as one of the most common code violations. They describe junk vehicles as ones that don’t have an up-to-date license plate, vehicles that are not operational, either dismantled or partly dismantled, or simply junked. Some folks may get the terms ‘abandoned’ and ‘discarded’ confused, because sometimes the owner of the car may very well have the intention of returning to it. Still, just like in most of the counties in the State of Oregon, that junk vehicle (if it’s to remain on the property) has to be within a shut building and unseen by the public.

Albany, Oregon also sees the same types of complaints from the public about City Code being broken. For example, when it comes to vehicles, they have a few different categories, such as boats, trailers and campers. These types of vehicles have to be parked off the street, and no one is allowed to sleep or live in them unless they are located in an RV park. But, when it comes to vehicles that are not operational, if they are not licensed they can’t be parked on city streets.

The code in the City of Sherwood that has to do with junk vehicles is Section 8.16.160H. It says that any car, truck, or SUV that is unregistered is prohibited from being kept on any property. Also if there is any vehicle that is being disassembled, it’s not allowed to sit in open view on that property.

One of the most frequently asked questions on the Clackamas County website is whether or not someone can have a junk car sitting on their property for an extended period of time. County Code there under this area is 10.03, and it basically says that if a vehicle is not registered and licensed to the property, or if it is not operational, then that particular vehicle is in direct violation of code.

In Gresham County, one of the citizen concerns is reporting an abandoned vehicle. Many of them want to know if when reporting a vehicle that’s been sitting on a city street for an extended period of time if the city hears them or not, because it seems as if the response takes longer than they expect. The rule is, as long as that vehicle is street legal, then for 72 hours the owner of that vehicle has the right to park on the right of way side of the street. The only way that the owner of the car abandons this right is if the car itself is parked on the right-of-way side of the street in front of their own property or residence. Even so, after someone reports a vehicle as abandoned, regardless of where it is, an inspector will still come out to the scene, take a look at the vehicle, wait one day, then return to the scene after 24 hours to see if the owner has come to move it. If the vehicle hasn’t budged, then it’ll be impounded in three days.

In Hillsboro, Oregon the rules are similar with cars being on public streets. They don’t consider a vehicle to be abandoned unless it’s been sitting there for more than 24 hours. If the vehicle is in a person’s driveway, in their yard, or anywhere else on their private property, then they have an entire week before action can be taken against them, unless it’s in a garage or another type of enclosed building.

Beaverton, Oregon says that abandoned vehicles have to be in that spot for at least 48 hours before they can be impounded, and the vehicle can’t be located in front of the owners primary physical address. Still, they advise their citizens in Beaverton to go ahead and report any junk vehicles that they believe are wrecked or are believed to be inoperable. Citizens are encouraged to call the Abandoned Auto Hotline if they notice certain things about the vehicle that seem strange, such as if there is no registration. Abandoned vehicles will receive an orange sticker (which is a two-day notice). And, after that two days, the vehicle will be towed if they don’t get a response from the owner.

Deschutes County, Oregon has similar rules, except they only give a one day notice before towing a car, truck, or SUV that seemingly has been abandoned. They have to wait that 24 hour period before they can take legal action.

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