Scamming is a way of life for some people. It is how they’ve chosen to make their way through the world. It isn’t a nice way, of course. It involves creating a victim who suffers a loss. But the point is, as this is what they do, they’re very good at it. There’s mastery of a craft involved here. In the same way as you might become a salesman and get better with practice, and can help convince a customer to buy a product you’ll get commission for, they get better at getting victims to fall for their schemes. This is how people fall for car buying scams.
While we strongly recommend you go through an authorised, legitimate car buyer company when you decide to sell your car, you may decide to try get more through an independent buyer.
If so, here are some tips on how to avoid being scammed.
Car buying scams are easy when the victim gets greedy.
Everything has a market-related price. There’s a range, though normally small, of what a car is worth. As the seller, you’re looking for the best price in that range, while a buyer is looking for the same thing, just at the lowest price in that range. If you’re asking for too high a price, you’ll put off legitimate buyers. If it is too low, you may make them suspicious.
A scammer, on the other hand, doesn’t care. A car is a car, if it’s for free. And it will be if you let them get away literally with it.
If you want a legitimate buyer, the best way is to get an accurate price for your vehicle. You can download our app for iPhone or Android and then enter your car’s details. Take pictures. Upload it all. We happen to have a very sophisticated system for ascertaining the price of a vehicle. Often what happens is, a person gives information to a car buying company, who doesn’t have the system we do, and the offer made isn’t the final one they’ll agree to. We, on the other hand, have a very accurate system. If you still prefer to strike out on your own and take a chance, here are other things to watch for…
Signs of scripting.
Scripting is a computer term for events in games where characters behave in certain ways due to specific outcomes. It is as simple as if (a) happens, the action (i) takes place. If (b) happens, the action (ii) takes place.
And in real life too. Telemarketers, for instance, follow a set script of responses to anything you may say as they try push unnecessary car insurance on you.
With scammers over the Internet, they generally have a high miss / low hit ratio in scamming. Meaning they want to save themselves as much time as possible while increasing the number of potential victims. To do so, they will reply with copy-and-pasted responses to ads you put out for your car. Say they are an international syndicate. They will use a company to export your vehicle out the country. They won’t meet you yourself. They won’t be interested in test driving the car. At the end of the day, even if all they get is parts, it is still worth it to them.
If your interactions with the scammer almost seem robotic, there is a good chance they are a scammer. If someone replies to your ad on whatever classified service you’re using, then try get a sense of who they are. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions, like what they do. And insist on talking on the phone. But most of all, don’t give out personal information like your ID number.
This copy and paste approach really comes out if you try to avoid asking stock standard questions to the scammer.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to more sophisticated scammers, who will invest more time in what they think is a good deal. The higher value your car, the more sophisticated the scamming becomes, because it increases the effort vs. reward ratio.
You wouldn’t put in a lot of effort for low reward, but you would for high reward. Scammers think the same way. They are human, after all.
Make sure your money is in your pocket first.
As mentioned, you want to make sure the money you’re owed has actually cleared into your account. This is when your bank balance is increased in terms of what is available. Not all legitimate buyers will be willing to wait that long… they might suspect a scam too. That’s why it’s often easiest to go through a car buying business. For instance, we have our own system of checks and balances, and as part of the Williams Hunt Group, we have the trusted name necessary for you to feel safe in doing business with us. Besides, we’re not interested in getting the lowest possible amount for your car. We’re interested in getting the most fair price for your car.
You may think you get more when you cut out the so-called middle man, but scams are the very reason why trusted companies like us exist on the market. To ensure you, as the seller, don’t get taken for a ride… without your car…. And potential future buyers get a vehicle that’s worth what they’re paying for.
Certainty for both buyer and seller is, well, uncertain. Scammers take advantage of that from both ends.
And unfortunately, scammers make a living off it. The really sophisticated scammers keep thinking up new tricks every day to take advantage of seller and buyer alike.