You’d think the average American would recognize an online scam when they see it. Yet, the notorious Nigerian Prince email scam still makes over $700,000 a year.
With that in mind, it’s a good idea to brush up on the most common scams if you’re planning on selling a car online. Staying aware and vigilant will protect you from becoming the next victim of an online scam.
Read on to learn about the top five car buying scams to watch out for.
1. They’ll Send Checks that Bounce
Once you post your car listing, you can expect to get responses very soon. Many of these initial responses will express interest in buying your car. Most will have questions, but some will be ready to buy it right away.
That alone should set off an alarm in your head. After all, what reasonable person would be ready to spend thousands on a car they haven’t seen or asked about?
This type of eager customer is how many of these scams begin.
Some scammers offer to send you a check.
This common scam happens when you cash the check and send the car to the buyer. A few days later, the check bounces, and you’re on the hook for the full amount.
2. They Ask for a Google Voice Verification Code
Another common scam is for buyers to use reverse psychology on you. They may want YOU to prove that you’re legitimate. To do so, they’ll request you ‘verify’ your identity through Google Voice.
You’ll get a message with a Google Voice verification code. You’ll notice it says not to give this code to anyone else. Sometimes, scammers will send the message in a different language.
The scammer will ask you to send them this code.
If you do, then the scammer will get access to your Google account.
3. They Beg You to Reduce the Price
Have you ever heard the phrase that beggars can’t be choosers? Well, it’s not so on the Internet.
Some scammers will send you a sob story and beg you to lower the price. Don’t fall for it.
4. They Refuse to Meet in Public Places
Does your potential buyer only want to meet on their turf? Do they refuse to meet somewhere safe like a public location? If so, then they may be plotting something devious.
Consider using a service like cash for cars instead.
5. They Send Fake PayPal Payments
So, you’ve closed the deal and then you receive an email confirming a PayPal payment from the buyer. It all looks good, right?
It’s best to double-check and verify that the payment is legitimate before sending your car. Many scammers send fake PayPal emails that look legit, but no money was ever sent.
No funds will ever appear in your PayPal wallet, either.
How to Avoid Online Car Buying Scams
These five car buying scams seem unbelievable until they happen to you. Always be wary when buying and selling online. It’s advised that you verify the person’s identity and work with a verified bank if you do buy or sell online.
Online scams aren’t unique to selling and buying cars. You’ve got to watch out for cybercriminals everywhere throughout 2020. Browse around our Internet and Tech section for more tips on how to stay safe online.