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
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Your local law enforcement agency.
- Your local Police Station.
- The National Consumers League
- The Internet Crime Complaint Center. The string of activities for such scam most times begin online.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
- Bureau of Justice.
- 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!