Run Forrest Run! How to Avoid the Most Common Car Related Scams.

There has been a lot of discussion on various Porsche forums and other car centric blogs regarding possible scams that buyers and sellers of Porsche cars and products can get caught up in. Most of this is common sense, but a little refresher never hurts.

It may be a scam if…

  1. If it’s too good to be true - it probably is. We all want to find that next great EBay bargain, but if the car is “perfect in everyway” and should cost $80,000 but they are selling it for $20,000 it’s probably not going to turn out the way you want it to. Remember this little news item?

  2. Advanced Fee Scheme - There are many variation of this type of fraud, but they all have similar attributes. You’ve agreed on a price and now the buyer wants to send you a check for more than the value of the vehicle to cover some other misc-expenses (freight, PPI, etc.). The idea here is that they will send you a forged or counterfeit cashiers/certified check or money order. You deposit the check into your account, check appears to clear and you deliver item and refund to either the buyer of the buyer’s agent. A few weeks later your bank takes the money back out of your account once they discover the check has been forged or was/is counterfeit. Remember, fake checks and money orders are common, and banks will hold you – not the buyer – responsible. Click here for a real-world example

  3. Cash is Still King - but it’s not always that safe (see the link in item # 1). I once sold a vehicle where the buyer offered me the full asking price in cash (this was 10’s of thousands of dollars). The buyer turned out to be legit, but I simply didn’t feel comfortable accepting that much cash. I was concerned that it might be an attempt to pass counterfeit bills (I would never know), I simply didn’t feel it was safe. If the seller insists on cash only, ask to meet in a public place. I personally have used the parking lot of my local police station many times. While it is not always necessary, it does offer an added level of comfort if you have any concerns at all. Never forget that a good scammer will do everything they can to develop a good strong rapport with you so that you feel comfortable dealing with them and don’t take any extra precautions. In fact, they rely on this.

  4. Personal Information - Buyer wants more personal information than is necessary. If you are planning on accepting a bank/certified/cashiers check, the only information you need to provide is your name. If the Buyer asks for more, especially your bank info, your phone number, etc. this should raise a flag with regard to identity theft.

  5. Foreign Countries - Anyone involved in the transaction is from Nigeria or other African nations.

  6. Currency - They quote a price and use the term “In US Dollars” or "USD" after the price.

  7. Craigslist - Enough said. Actually, I’ve found many good deals here, but I’ve also found many more obvious scams.

    Resources available on line to educate and protect yourself:

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    1. says

      Another common seller’s scam starts with a car that is priced too good to be true. There’s always a story behind why the car is being sold at a bargain; it usually starts with a sick child or a lousy husband who left the seller with nothing but this great car.

      The story proceeds with the seller having turned the car over to a shipping agent who will make all the arrangements for delivery. The car cannot be inspected pre-purchase. The buyer pays the money into a Paypal Escrow Account (there is no such thing) with the representation that the car will be delivered to the buyer on approval. If you don’t like it, don’t take it, the buyer is told. All money will be returned. LOL.

      Of course, there is no escrow account, no delivery and no car. Several on line sites caution against this type of scam now.

      Moral of the story. If the seller will not allow a pre-purchase inspection before money changes hands, regardless of the reason, run, don’t walk from the deal.


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