5 tips to avoid being a victim of car scams

Aug 11, 2017 | Same topic: Best advice for car buyers
Whether you are on the market for a brand-new or pre-owned vehicle, it is always essential to do your own research to avoid becoming a victim of car scams.

Purchasing a vehicle is an important deal. Besides our own house, it is generally the most high-priced thing in our possession. It is also a profitable transaction yet a high-risk investment.

If you aren’t cautious enough, in the worst case scenario, you might have to pay out a very large amount of money for a dilapidated old car that looks great on the surface, but is falling apart on the inside.

Whether you are on the market for a brand-new or pre-owned vehicle, it is always significant to do your own research to avoid becoming a victim of car scams.

>>> We have listed down 7 tips to consider before buying a used car. Check it out.

1. Know the actual price of the car you’re interested in

Scammers will post many fake listings on classified websites. Contrary to popular belief, cars targeted by thieves are not necessarily the most expensive ones. In fact, these ads can be for any kinds of car, particularly those in high demand such as a second hand Toyota Vios, Isuzu MU-X, and Toyota Fortuner. The ads may even include very specific information and beautiful pictures – often duplicated from a verified seller’s post. To entice a large number of victims in a hurry, the fake sellers advertise the car listing at a very attractive price, often much lower than listings of the same models advertised on other classified websites, or even on the same site.

See also:

A rent-a-car scam 

2. Check reputation of seller

If you want to know about the reputation of car sellers then the logical action would be to ask them for proof of identity. What are the legal papers you will ask for? These papers should be:

  • A government-issued ID
  • A driver’s license
  • Or a Social Security.

Make a full check to see if the seller name and address on the above documents don’t match up with the vehicle registration form. As well, you have to make sure the information is not a copy of the original registration form. You need to compare vehicle identification number (VIN), model, brand, year of the vehicle with what’s on paper.

Classified websites don’t do this research for you and they also can’t look after you when you fail to do your own research and made a wrong decision or judgment.

3. Never pay a deposit or use a wire transfer

As a discerning car buyer, you should never use wire transfers to pay for a car.  A wire transfer service such as MoneyGram or Western Union is frequently used by scammers. If you’re buying a car from a private seller and they importune you to use the above services, ask to select a different method of payment, preferably one where documents as proof of the seller’s identity are very clear and can be traced.

Once wire transfers have been approved by your bank, you won’t be able to recover your money without the seller’s consent. That is one of the reasons why scammers love using these services and why such businesses are strongly discouraged for purchasing vehicles.

4. Pick an anti-stolen car tool for your car

Stolen car image

You can’t claim your car ownership on missing vehicles that you purchased no matter how innocent you were

There is no guarantee that your car won’t be a stolen car, but you can decrease the chances of its happening without a fortune. The vehicle you bought will still belong to the original owner or if he/she has been paid out by his/her insurance company the car belongs to them. You can’t claim your car ownership on missing vehicles that you purchased no matter how innocent you were.

How to check if you’re purchasing a stolen vehicle? You can test the Land Transportation Office (LTO) SMS service with plate number, the information sent back is what you need.

Apart from the LTO’s text service, you can also check the Highway Patrol Group’s (HPG) official Facebook page. Starting in August 2015, the HPG has turned to Facebook to publish news on the missing cars the agency has recovered. Though you have to spend so much time sifting through the pictures, there are necessary actions you can do to better protect yourself from buying a stolen car.  

 >>> The Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) has reported the top 3 stolen vehicles in the Philippines. Click to find out. 

5. Schedule an unit inspection

Two men inspecting under the hood of the car

If you aren’t cautious, you can find yourself spending more than 30% or 50% of your vehicle value

You should schedule meet-ups or visits to have a thorough inspection and drive test. It’s always beneficial to get a skilled mechanic to make sure the car is not a junker. To avoid the unnecessary risks, peep our list of 5 things to check to ensure the condition and the value of the used car you’re about to buy.

See also:

A car loan scam