For all you shoppers out there who buy everything online – including new cars – here’s one reason you might want to think twice before making such a large purchase through online auction.
One consumer recently bid on a car on a web-site well known for selling automobiles and other merchandise at auction. The woman bid on the item and then, as expected, she received an e-mail notifying her that she “won the auction”. The problem was, she didn’t win at all. In fact, she wound up losing nearly $20,000.
What likely happened in this case was that when the woman bid on a car, the con artist simply captured her e-mail address and contacted her pretending that she placed the winning bid when in fact she did not. He then told her to send the money to an escrow/shipping company that he chose, which turned out to be a phony account to which only he had access.
While it’s true that lots of car sales online go off without a hitch, if you do decide to buy a car this way, be extra wary. For starters, often scammers are from outside the U.S. so if the grammar in their email sounds unusual, steer clear. Also, never let the seller choose the escrow company. You should always be the one to select where you are sending your money and you should always make sure the company is reputable before choosing it. Finally, trust your instincts and follow this one simple rule…If it walks like a scammer and it talks like a scammer, then it’s probably a scammer.