Saturday, 26 October 2013

Car sales fraud puts the brake on website auctions in the USA


It is difficult enough trying to buy a second-hand car, making sure that it has a full service history and that it won’t expire on you two days after the payment cheque has cleared. Or finding out that it was formerly written off due to an accident, rebuilt and put back on the road (yes and I do speak from bitter experience). 

There are lots of second hand car websites out there, and including ones who are keen to buy almost any car, providing it is not a much beloved 1979 Austin Allegro (yet again the voice of experience).
Reputable trading magazines and on line auction sites targeted by fraudsters

Trying to get some sound consumer advice and turning to a few of the national auto trading magazines has been one course of action for many people, and lots of individuals use on line trading and bidding sites to purchase their mode of transport. However it was slightly concerning to read today about a car sales scam so prolific that the FBI are after the ringleader behind it.

I mention this because, although happening in the US of A, we in Britain are notorious for following the trends of our American cousins and no doubt someone somewhere is now thinking about how they can net around 1.8 million, which is what this particular set of criminals managed to do. They posted details of vehicles on eBay, AutoTrader.com and other reputable sites, of non-existent cars and then, when getting a buyer, would email them invoices that the unfortunate consumer, believed to be genuine Amazon, PayPal and other online payment accounts.

Buyers advised to check consumer protection rights and secure payment methods

The fraudsters have turned out to be based in Romania but the ringleader is now wanted by the Feds,  yet still this has left thousands of would be American drivers in the lurch, or rather sitting on the sidewalk. The online bidding and payment sites are working hard to ensure that their customers know how to follow the proper secure payments procedures.

At present there have been no reports that anyone in the UK has been affected in this way, but it is worth ensuring if you do bid and buy online, you are up to speed with the secure payments methods. Spend a little time checking your consumer protection rights, and where and how to complain if anything does go wrong, and when looking to buy a car online, if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.

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