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Bogus Motor Vehicles for Sale on Craigslist

Bogus Motor Vehicles

The internet has made many things in life much easier…including consumer fraud schemes. Often, what appear to be legitimate offers or transactions are designed only to separate you from your hard-earned money.

Phony Car Ads on Craigslist

A scam that seems to be increasing rapidly involves phony offers to sell goods or services. As a general rule, the goods tend to be bigger ticket items, such as motor vehicles, vacation rentals or high-end electronics, but can involve just about anything. You may find the offers on very legitimate websites, such as Craigslist or eBay, and the “seller” may send you documents or e-mails that appear to be bona fide.

A scam that’s popular right now involves the sale of cars on Craigslist. When you inquire about the vehicle, the “seller” will tell you that the transaction must be run through “eBay Motors” and that you need to make payment with prepaid debit cards or some other alternative method. Don’t ever buy anything that requires you to purchase a prepaid debit card or deliver instant access to cash without simultaneously receiving possession of the goods or services. It’s probably a scam. You should never have to leave eBay or Craigslist or any other website to complete the transaction.

Here are some other red flags related to the bogus online motor vehicle sales scam:

  • The price asked for the vehicle is nowhere near its real value—If the deal seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Expect that the “seller” will have a good story to tell you—the car belonged to a family member who died or has been in storage for a number years.
  • The seller is in a different state than you are—Craigslist does not give you the option to advertise nationally, as many car websites do. So ask yourself why someone in California would advertise a car for sale on the Craigslist page in Harrisonburg, Virginia. If it’s such a great car and the price is so unbelievable, the seller should have no problem selling it in California.
  • The seller offers to deliver the car at no additional cost to you—As a general rule, the buyer pays for the cost of delivery. Again, you may get good stories about why the seller can easily deliver to you at no cost…they travel for business is a popular one. But how will they get back home after they deliver the vehicle to you? Are they going to drive out of their way to deliver a vehicle to you at less than market value?
  • The seller pressures you to “close the deal quickly”—this simply indicates that the seller doesn’t want you to take the time to ask the questions above.

Contact Attorney David J. Karbasian

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