When you buy a car using the Internet it is best to use a trusted website, or buy from a well-known dealer. The last thing you want to do is get your hopes up, or worse put a deposit down on a vehicle that is not in the condition that the advert says it is.
It is easy enough to find cars for sale on the Internet – a simple Google search or gumtree search will come up with hundreds of results. Many of these vehicles will be second hand, which is why you want to make sure that you are using a site you can trust.
However, in spite of the ease and convenience it provides, it is also important that you learn a few tips on how to buy a car on the Internet and protect yourself from fraud.
Although more and more people are purchasing vehicles this way, because of the ease and convenience, they need to protect themselves against fraud, due to the many unscrupulous individuals out there. Knowing what to look for, and how to deal with it however, will give you all the protection you need, against these fraudsters.
Beware of fake Escrow accounts
It is therefore in your best interests to verify their legitimacy with Better Business Bureau, or state regulators, and then make contact yourself, with a reputable escrow service.
Do not pay for the vehicle with a money transfer service
When you want to send money to someone that you know well easily, fast, and conveniently, then by all means, do it with a money transfer. However, do not under any circumstances use this method of paying for your purchase, with someone that you have never met personally.
Fraudsters use legitimate-looking advertisements and work relentlessly to try to convince buyers, especially those that are out-of-state, that the car that they want to purchase will be shipped to them, as soon as they have paid for it.
According to the Federal Trade Commission however, consumers must avoid the use of wire transfers to pay for vehicles that they have purchased online, in order to prevent themselves from becoming another victim of online fraud.
Make sure you see the car before you pay for it
Once you have found a car on the Internet that you are interested in, the next step is to ask the seller if you can see it first, and have it inspected before you buy it. If the seller seems reluctant, or refuses outright that you see it before paying for it with a money transfer, then do the right thing and look for a car elsewhere.
Another thing that a scammer might do, is try to convince you to secure your purchase by putting the name of a friend on the transaction. Don’t believe this though, because there is no way that this will protect you from someone fraudulent. You can get more information on this at http://www.westernunion.com/stopfraud.
Trust your instincts
If the deal seems unbelievably good, then go with these feelings, because it more than likely is to good to be true.
What fraudulent sellers do, is give you all sorts of reasons as to why you cannot see the car before you pay for it. Warning bells should start ringing if they tell you that you can only contact them via email, or maybe that they have lowered the price of the car because they need to sell it quickly.
Fraudsters will do their best to convince you too, that they will escrow your payment, and send the vehicle to you immediately once it is paid for, but do not believe a word of it, as this is very obviously another attempt to scam you out of your money.
You have worked long and hard to earn your money, so it is imperative that you do not give anyone the opportunity to take it from you. If you want to purchase a car easily and conveniently by using the ads that you find on the Internet, then make sure that you do some research first, in order to protect yourself, and your hard-earned money as well, from the many scammers that are out there.
Treat your online vehicle purchase exactly the same way that you would if you were buying anything else from a stranger, and send no money, until you have seen the item that you want to purchase.
It is important to make sure that you get a quality vehicle when you buy a car using the Internet which is exactly why you don’t want to use just any old site.
Think about all of the cars you see on the road, and remember that people can often use words to describe these cars in the most positive light – dents and all. There is nothing wrong with buying a second hand car, especially when you buy from a reputable and trusted dealer.
Sites like carfind.co.za and autotrader.co.za will help you to search for trusted vehicles from trusted car dealers around South Africa. Similarly, McCarthy call-a-car is a trustworthy dealer of quality cars.