It turns out after all these years you are the long lost cousin of some Nigerian prince who happens to own 89% of all of Nigeria’s wealth and he conveniently just wants to give it all to you for no real reason at all. All you have to do is send this said Nigerian prince $900 so that he can secure your bank transfer. Seems legit. Most of us are familiar with the scams that have been running for years and they won’t change and here is why.
By sticking to the age old known story that majority automatically dismiss as a scam the crooks in this scenario have automatically filtered the scam down to only engage with the gullible. Its ‘niching’ the market. By keeping the same old story they don’t waste hours and hours of back and forth emails with average Joes who wise up near the end of the process and the crook has to start again. Rather they stick to the stories that we laugh at these days because it eliminates those who will be time wasters. The only people who reply to the Nigerian Prince email are those who will transfer $900 to some unknown bank overseas and never ever see it again.
So what has all of this to do with cars? Well similar scams are used in the online car classifieds market often. In our time selling cars, we have come across three different scenarios, all of which are variants on the same story and all are clever ploys to get you to part with your money.
The scenarios may fluctuate a little but the big picture is always the same, some bloke working on a oil rig or a ship story is popular but they are getting a little more cunning with the story they spin as to why they can’t come and see the car. Someone is unable to get to you through to work scenarios and wants to buy your car. They get conversation happening back and forth until they end up asking you to pay the transport company to have the car towed to his or her home town. The offer is you pay the transport company first and they will add it to the money they transfer you for your car. In some c
ases this goes as far as the seller agreeing to this under the condition our buyer pays first. And he does. Or it looks like he does. He offers to pay using PayPal and an official email turns up saying the funds have arrived but the value of your sale is locked until the transport fee is paid. The email itself is a fake.
Amusingly if you wish to play games with this the first thing they ask is whats your lowest price if you respond with a number thats double what your classified ad is asking and they respond with “i’m happy with that” you have discovered the scammer or an idiot.
The scenario may differ from scammer to scammer but it often baits you with the request to pay the courier or towing company. Some of these scammers have cleverly created websites to look like PayPal or bank websites so be very careful.
The sure fire way to protect yourself form this stuff is actually rather easy. Here are some rules to stick to.
First, nobody buys a car without looking at it. As if someone is going to part with big cash for something that may not even drive. If someone agrees to buy your vehicle without seeing it, we advise walking away.
If you can’t speak to an actual person then don’t waste your time.
Don’t pay anyone for anything, if they want a tow truck paid for they can pay for it. Fake sites and emails from payment companies such as Bpay and PayPal are currently the latest ploy with these scammers. Just don’t pay anyone and you’re safe.