Trusted Tips and Resources

Trusted Tips & Resources

Trusted Regina Franchise Owner Bonnie Day Shares Tip's on Avoiding Dangerous Scams When Selling a Vehicle Online.

Tip's on Avoiding Dangerous Scams When Selling a Vehicle Online.

In our latest tip Bonnie Day, owner of the TrustedRegina.com directory shares her thoughts on scams we should all try to avoid. 

As the owner of Trusted Regina, I have gained a level of skepticism much higher than most mere mortals. I frequently examine businesses to see if they are trustworthy and look for red flags as part of what we do on a daily basis.  So it would come as no surprise that I would utilize this superpower to ensure that I am not having the proverbial wool pulled over my eyes. 

Recently I listed my Harley Davidson for sale.  I carefully gathered the information, mileage, maintenance on the vehicle and any extras that I had added to the bike.  Took great images and prepared to sell.  I decided on two places to post to the world what a wonderful specimen my bike was in hopes that a savvy buyer would love and appreciate it as much as I have.  I then took it to the masses and posted it on Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace.  


This wasn't the first motorcycle I had placed for sale online so I knew that scammers would likely pop up as I have experienced in the past.   Within ten minutes of posting the first one came in, it was pretty easily identifiable as a scam. The second one, however, was much more interesting... But we will get to that later, for now, let's address the first one.

Enter Scammer #1 Paul Martins - Deployed overseas PayPal Scam

Paul contacted me stating: 

"I read through your advert and from what I have seen it's priced favourably compared to others so I want you to consider it sold to me because I am ready to buy it for the asking price and Presently I am out of town on duty in a remote area. Our phones have been disabled from voice calls as making phone calls is against the code of ethics of my job Military. I work in the army services civil contractor for the D.O.D field artillery unit and won’t be back until November 30th,  otherwise I would have called you.

So,I am ready to seal the deal right away and pay you via my PayPal account that is attached to my bank account as it is the only secure form of payment that I have access to right now.

So, kindly get back to me with your full name and PayPal email address and your cell phone number along with your final asking price so that I can initiate the payment immediately. If you don't have a PayPal account, it is absolutely free to set one up, kindly visit www.paypal.com. A shipper will be hired that will come for the pick-up upon the completion of the payment aspect of the transaction. Let me have the requested details to proceed with the payment if we have a deal.TY "

Let's break it down, Paul has access to the internet and initially contacted me via text from a 615 area code... Nashville Tennessee USA, I am in Canada.  If Paul was an active serving member as he claims he would be allowed to use cell phones for an hour or two per day in barracks, enforced not by the military itself, but by specialized subscriptions from telecoms providers, so he wouldn't have been able to text me from his "disabled" phone in the first place.  Also a little common sence works here:  If a service member is lucky enough to have his personal phone and send a text while deployed overseas he certainly isn't using it to text me about a Motorcycle he can't ride until after November.  I know my bike is amazing but it isn't that amazing!

Paul is trying to portray himself as someone I can trust, he has put himself in a role that is meant to instantly reduce your level of skepticism after all Service members are trustworthy right.  

Paul goes further He is going to give me the full asking price and send me the money via PayPal... a secure source of payments right.  In addition, Paul has conveniently given me the link to start up a PayPal account just in case I didn't have one.  He is also going to hire a shipper to come and pick up the bike.  Paul has red flags everywhere. 

A scammer, posing as a buyer, will fail to negotiate. They may ask a few standard questions to appear to be a legitimate buyer, but this is a facade. Most buyers will ask very specific questions.  The “immediate offer” is a classic scamming tactic.  Of course, it’s never ideal to settle for less than your asking price. 

But a buyer that doesn’t even attempt to negotiate or ask questions is most likely a scammer.  

The PayPal detail is important.  Paul has likely sent me a "fake link"  that sends me to a website that looks identical to PayPal but it is not!  Now if I had entered in all of my details to this fake website Paul would have all of my information: Name, Address, Credit card information and so on; essentially all of the stuff I don't want Paul to have. 

The other trick Paul may be attempting here is that the PayPal site and information is accurate however when Paul pay's me he is going to overpay me.  The “overpay” scam has several variations. In this one, the scammer will offer to pay you via PayPal or a similar service. Then, they will claim they accidentally overpaid you. The scammer will forward you a fake PayPal confirmation email as proof of payment, then ask you to wire them back the amount they overpaid. The trick is that they never paid you in the first place. But you actually paid them when you send them the “difference” they “overpaid.”  

Enter Scammer #2 Richard - VIN SEARCH SCAM ALERT

Richard sent me a text asking if the vehicle was still for sale and other normal buyer questions. 

  • How long have you had it?  
  • Can I come by tomorrow at 2 pm to see it?  
  • Can you provide me with a Motor Vehicle Report?  

It was an out of province number but that is not overly alarming in and of itself.  So I replied sure 2 pm works and sent him a VIN search from SGI showing that it was free and clear of any accidents.

Richard wasn't ok with the SGI VIN search and insisted that I run the VIN on a website he sent registeryourvin.com.  

For me, this was a reg flag so I figured I would have a look.  I check out the website where it asks me to pay $26.00 to run a VIN number via credit card.  Sadly for Richard I'm cheap and had already run a clear VIN search for him and was unwilling to pay the $26.00 however I offered to reduce the amount of the search if he purchased the bike.  

Richard then started to get aggressive and said 

"I want it ran on registeryourvin,  I don’t trust people."

 At this point, I had figured out that Richard was a scammer, but I wanted to see where he would go with it. I decided to offer a compromise. I suggested to Richard that I run a VIN search on Carfax or a site of MY choosing. I told him that people are scamming sellers in this exact way and, dear Richard, I don't trust people either.  Richards reply was short:

I want registeryourvin report!

Sorry Richard I am NOT going to give you my name, address and credit card information so that you can steal from me.


The point is even if a buyer initially seems legitimate, at some point you need to trust your judgment even if something small appears strange.  It's not strange for a buyer to request a VIN search.  In fact, I initially thought that this made him a serious buyer.  But his insistence on where this VIN was run was what set off my alarm bells.   Here are some tips to look for when avoiding these types of scams.  

 

Here are some tips to avoid being scammed when selling online.

#1 -  Guard your personal information.  Never enter your personal or credit card information on a website a potential buyer has sent you! It may appear real but in all likelihood, it is NOT and they want to steal your money, identification or both.

#2 - Profile the buyer. If your buyer is legit — and reasonable — the sale will flow smoothly.  Exchanging text messages about buying a used car is normal these days, but push for a quick phone chat. As you talk with the potential buyer, pay attention to your intuition. If the buyer makes any unusual requests or if anything makes you uncomfortable, just wait for another buyer.

#3 - Never accept an offer to Ship the Bike/Car - This is a common scam anyone asking you or offering to ship an automobile is likely a scam and should be avoided. Even if they claim they are so “busy”, they’ll most likely insist you ship the bike. They’ll pay will a stolen credit card or send you a fake PayPal payment confirmation. 

#4 - Don't be overeager.  A real buyer will likely ask you questions about your vehicle and make you an offer that is below your asking price.  

#5 - Don’t let emotions cloud your judgment.  Some scammers will have a sob story or try and play on your heartstrings to convince you of their scam.  Think of it as a business transaction and nothing else.

 

If all else fails take your vehicle to a dealership or reputable Auto dealer and sell the vehicle to them.  

At Trusted Regina we share all kinds of tips to protect our community; we aim to ensure you have some peace of mind and information to help you.  


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