Beware of car buying scams!
There has been a growing problem from fraudsters who have spotted an easy scam with "buying" cars or motorcycles advertised for sale. A typical scam is described below by Rick Morton so, if you are thinking of selling a car, do make sure you are aware of how these scams work.

Beware of scam from an overseas V8 buyer!

Rick Morton (Woodcote Green 1300) has reported a scam which members who are selling a V8 need to note. Rick says "I just thought I would update you on my experience with trying to sell my RV8 recently before I withdrew it from sale. Both Jerry Winfield (Woodcote Green 1684) and I heard from the same person but I also had several other emails with roughly the same approach.

How does the scam work?
"The scam buyer, who is overseas, agrees to buy your
car and will send you a cheque for more than the asking price to cover shipping costs etc. He then asks if you could bank the cheque and send the balance to his shipping agent via a money transfer. The cheque bounces but only after you have sent the cash to the shipping agent. This scam relies on your ignorance of how the cheque clearing system works. Problems arise
because banks update their computers on day three of the clearing cycle. So if you check with them at that time, you may very well be told that the funds are available. It will only be on day four that the bank realises that there is a problem, and on day five that they tell you. Weekends and Bank Holidays all add to the delay. In my case the scam merchant was going to send me a cheque for £3,400 more than I was asking for the car. I was to subtract the cost of the car and send the remainder to his "shipping agent"." So members need to be alert to this scam and any approach they may receive from the scam merchant!

Ebay advertisers - caution
One feature of trading on Ebay is worth mentioning and whilst it has a more general application, it could arise as a consequence of a car advertised for sale on Ebay. The seller advertises an item on Ebay, but when contacted by the buyer replies that the item in question has gone, but he does have another which he can sell to the buyer direct. If he does sell direct to the buyer, it will be outside the Ebay system of protective measures for the buyer, although the buyer may not appreciate that and fail to be as on guard as he should be. This caution is not a criticism of the useful online trading facilities provided by Ebay.
Examples of car buying scams
Graham Bartholomew received an email from the Rev Andrew Temilade which he feels looks like another scam. The email is reproduced below in the form it was received including spelling and punctuation mistakes. (30.11.04)
Goodday Sir/Ma,
I will like to purchase the above Car which you advertised for sell over the internet, i saw it during my search and i want to get it for my daugther who is getting married soon,as her gift.I need to no the working condition of the car, the final price which you want to sell the car. what will be the method of payment.The easiest method of payment will be by bank draft.please get back to me if you accept my enquiry so that we can proceed.Hope to here form you soon. May his presence be with us always.Amen
Regards.
Rev,Andrew

Earlier Rick Morton reported a scam which members who are selling a V8 need to note. Rick says "I just thought I would update you on my experience with trying to sell my RV8 recently before I withdrew it from sale. Both Jerry Winfield (Woodcote Green 1684) and I heard from the same person but I also had several other emails with roughly the same approach. Basically the person who is overseas, agrees to buy your car and will send you a cheque for more than the asking price to cover shipping costs etc. He then asks if you could bank the cheque and send the balance to his shipping agent via a money transfer. The buyer's cheque bounces but only after you have sent the cash to the shipping agent. This scam relies on your ignorance of how the cheque clearing system works. Problems arise because banks update their computers on day three of the clearing cycle. So if you check with them at that time, you may very well be told that the funds have been cleared and are available. It will only be on day four that the bank realises that there is a problem, and on day five that they tell you. Weekends and Bank Holidays all add to the delay. In my case the scam merchant was going to send me a cheque for £3,400 more than I was asking for the car. I was to subtract the cost of the car and send the remainder to his "shipping agent"."

Richard Smallwood reports "I have received an email today from a firm in America which sounds a little suspicious to me?". The email is reproduced below in the form it was received including spelling and punctuation mistakes.
Sir/Madam.
I am Mark White,manager of Mark autos, Ridderstraat 2320 Madison Street, hollywood , Fl, Usa. We specialise in purchase of Autos (car and bike) for customers here in America, and we get paid in commission, after payment has been confirmed by the seller to the buyer. I write you on behalf of our client to contact you and arrange for the buying and shippment of your vehicle which our client saw on the internet, we would like to know the conditions of the said vehicle and probably arrange for payment to get to you and shippment.
My customer interested in purchasing your car mentioned above for the sum of 9,750 ,and we will arrange for the pick up of the car once payment is confirmed cleared by you. Please acknowledge the offer and we will inform the buyer of your confirmation of acceptance to sell and have the funds remitted to you as soon as possible, and I'll like this transaction to be kept in utmost trust. I hope you can understand. Our office is located in America, as stated above.
Thanks,
mark

So members need to be alert to this type of scam and any approach from these scam merchants!


See also:

VSTAG
Vehicle buying and selling advice from the Vehicle Safe Trading Advisory Group or VSTAG is a partnership venture launched by Autotrader, eBay Motors, Exchange & Mart, the Finance & Leasing Association, Motors.co.uk, and the Metroplolitan Police. More

Metropolitan Police website
Very useful advice for car sellers and buyers. More