1. The Sight Unseen Purchaser
This scam involves a potential buyer contacting you, and offering to purchase the car immediately without even viewing the car. They will often offer you more than your requested price, just to secure the deal. This is the first warning sign, as more often than not, these types of “sales” head in the direction of our next two entries.
2. The Over Payment
The potential buyer will “deposit” more than the sale amount into your bank account, and then request that you return the over payment. The deposit will reflect in your bank account but as soon as you transfer any money back to them, the initial deposit is cancelled and you are out a few thousand rand.
3. The Fake Depositor
This scam involves the scammer sending you proof of payment, with very well-made fake deposit slips from the bank. These scammers will then get you to release the vehicle, and as soon as they have your car they disappear, while the bank knows nothing of any deposit.
4. The Identity Thief
These scammers are out for one thing, and that is to take you for everything you have – including your identity. They will request any and/or all documentation to get as much personal information on you, and then use that to defraud as many people as possible under the guise of being you.
5. The Test Drive Thief
Possibly the worst and most dangerous type of scammer. These are criminals who show up to test drive the car, and once they have the keys disappear without a trace. The more dangerous types will actually hijack you or worse.
Knowing the warning signs is the first step to avoiding a scam.
If the deal seems awkward or too good to be true, walk away.
If the buyer is asking you for way more personal information that is required for a sale, walk away.
Always confirm with your bank that all funds have cleared, before releasing your car.
Never pay any money upfront for “expenses” which should be handled by the buyer.
Always have a friend on hand when conducting a sale meeting.
Never let someone test drive your car alone, or with their friends.
Always ensure that they leave their keys, ID or own vehicle behind.
If you suspect you are about to become (or have become) a victim of a scam or fraud, approach your local police for assistance immediately.