Search results for: "ebay gift card scam"

eBay Gift Card Nissan Maxima Scam Hooks Car Buyer

eBay gift card car scam

Another buyer fell victim to a Craigslist / eBay Nissan scam. As Doc says, beware of a too good to be true deal. There is no “Bargain Used Car” with free shipping! 🙁

From ABC11 Diane Wilson: One scam caught Ashley Lucas off guard, and she is now out $2,500. She spotted a 2009 Nissan Maxima for sale on Craigslist. It was listed for $1,500, so she wanted to act fast as it was a price she could afford.

She emailed back and forth with the seller, and the seller claimed the purchase came with eBay Vehicle Purchase Protection. Ashley thought the deal would be protected, so she moved forward with it. A 2009 Nissan Maxima for 1,500 is a SCAM SCAM SCAM! 😥

The catch? The seller wanted her to pay in eBay gift cards!

eBay gift card car scam
This North Carolina woman became another victim of a Craigslist car scam that was advertised to use eBay VPP and eBay gift cards.

“First I bought the three $500 gift cards, and then they said they needed a thousand more dollars because they said they needed insurance for them to ship it to my house and they said they would refund it to me once the car was delivered,” Ashley said.

So Ashley bought the $2,500 worth of gift cards and then followed the instructions from the seller by scratching off the numbers on each gift card and giving those numbers to the seller, so then they had access to the money.

NADA Guides Value 2009 Nissan Maxima
NADA market value 2009 Nissan Maxima SV as of this blog posting.

Ashley thought she’d be getting her new car, but then the seller asked for more money. I told them I’m getting a little curious, they were no longer sending emails back,” she said. “They weren’t answering their calls.” Ashley realized she had been scammed.

“I felt stupid because I was already low on money and I just was going to take a risk because I need a car really bad,” Ashley said.

Oh well.. As usual.. Just my two cents worth! 😎

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Don’t Be A Gift Card Scam Victim This Holiday Season

Gift Card Nissan Maxima Scam

Scammers are hustling the naive this Christmas using unreasonably low priced used cars as sucker bait. As Doc has reported many times, another person lost their money trying to buy a used car with eBay gift cards. This lady swallowed the hook on a 2010 Nissan Maxima on LetGo app. Her money is long gone! 😥

Gift Card Nissan Maxima Scam
Another victim of app fraud bought gift cards to pay for a used car. Her money is long gone!

As it usually goes the seller claimed eBay Motors was handling the transaction. When she agreed to buy the car her seller (scammer) sent fake eBay emails. She bought the gift cards and emailed the redemption codes. Don’t become a Christmas scam victim!

From Are you thinking of buying someone a used car this holiday season? Or maybe you’re going to need a car yourself soon? We have an important warning about some car ads that will leave you empty handed and disappointed Christmas morning.

Our scam victim was hunting for a used car and found a great deal on letgo selling app. It was a 2010 Nissan Maxima for a bargain $1,500. She messaged the seller who explained she was in the military and about to be deployed. The person needed to sell the car quickly, at a low price. She said she was going into training with her medical team for a year. She said she didn’t want to store the car.

The seller told her the car would be sold through eBay motors for safety and that she needed to send a 500 dollar deposit on eBay gift cards. She put 200 dollars on one 200 dollars on another, and 100 dollars on a third totaling $500 dollars. That’s the last she heard from the seller (scammer). it was common car scam phishing the naive!

eBay told us: “this transaction appears to be a scam. Unfortunately, scam artists will list items for sale on non-eBay trading sites. Then promise eBay’s protection as a means of completing the scam. He said to protect yourself! Do not pay via gift cards or western union and be suspicious of any car or truck you cannot see in person.

It’s the lure of getting a bargain car for next to nothing that’s continues to slay victims. It’s the same scam that has been claiming victims since this site was founded 14 years ago, just the method of payment has changed. Don’t be a sucker this Christmas! 😉

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Craigslist Van Seller Cleans Victim Out Using eBay Gift Cards

Craigslist Gift Card Scam

It’s happened again, clever scammer cons car buyer into buying eBay gift cards. The car buyer fell for a too good to be true price, and lost his money. Craigslist has become the favorite venue to troll for suckers, and their pros at doing it! 😥

There is no such thing as a free lunch. And there is no bargain car in perfect condition with free shipping for half or less book value. It’s that lure of getting something for next to nothing that keeps these cons going. Don’t be a schmuck and swallow the scammers bait.

From This story proves just about anyone can get scammed. A man from Oberlin said even though he’s an experienced buyer and seller of cars online, criminals got him. The victim was looking for a van, found one on Craigslist. It was $1200 and to him that’s a lot of money. “I don’t have $1200 to just throw away,” he told us.

The seller sent him a note saying the husband supposedly died 5 months ago. They told me they had just moved to another state and that they were dealing with eBay Motors.

He wasn’t familiar with eBay Motors, but he went to Rite Aid anyway. He bought a half-dozen eBay gift cards and gave the crooks the numbers. Then, he even got a message from the seller saying, I’m sure you will love this car. Take good care of it.

At that point his money was gone!

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Theirs An ASS For Every Gift Card Used Car Buyers Seat

Gift Card Car Scam Example

In the used car business it’s often said. Theirs an ASS for every seat! Using gift card’s to buy used cars is a certain scam, you will lose your money! After nearly 14 Years this website has warned consumers of used car scams.. but.. 🙁

Good people looking for that extra special good deal fall victim to fraud every day!

Car Scam Using Gift Cards
If the listed price is unrealistically low expect a scam looking for a sucker to swallow the sucker bait hook line and sinker.

So apparently this dude swallowed the sucker bait and is asking if he can get his money back. Buying used cars with eBay gift cards is a scam! We’ve seen so much of this kind of fraud over the years, and doubt it will ever end. It’s the lure of getting something nearly for nothing that snares suckers every time.

Kind of like the classic Miami Vice theme song by Glenn Frey, Smugglers Blues. It’s the lure of easy money that busts em every time.

So the moral of this one is, don’t be a sucker. You will never get that seat to plop your ass in. Read our used car buying and selling guide before buying online.

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FBI IC3 Car Scam Warning 2018 – Don’t Be A Victim

FBI IC3 Car Scam Warning 2018

Fraudulent Online Motor Vehicle Sales. The Federal Bureau Of Investigation IC3 is warning used car buyers to beware of internet fraud. Scammers are still, after all these years, praying on consumers looking for a bargain automobile.

FBI IC3 Car Scam Warning 2018
IC3 warning fraudulent online sale of cars, recreational vehicles, boats, and other outdoor equipment.

As an update to I-111414-PSA, released November 14, 2014, the FBI is issuing additional information and warnings regarding the fraudulent online sale of cars, recreational vehicles, boats, and other outdoor equipment.

Criminals are posting online advertisements of items that are not, nor have ever been, within their possession. From May 2014 through December 2017, the IC3 received approximately 26,967 complaints with adjusted losses of $54,032,396 related to these types of fraudulent sales.

The fraudulent advertisements usually include photos matching the description of the vehicle for sale and a phone number or email address to contact the supposed seller. Once the initial contact is established, the criminal sends the intended buyer additional photos along with a seemingly logical explanation for the item’s discounted price and the time-sensitive nature of the transaction. Common explanations given by the perpetrators include (but are not limited to):

  • Seller is moving to another location or being deployed by the military

  • Seller received the vehicle as part of a divorce settlement

  • Vehicle belonged to a relative who has died

The criminal makes the fraud appear legitimate by deceptively claiming partnership with reputable companies, such as eBay, and using the names of these third parties with whom they have no actual association.

The criminal assures the buyer that the transaction will occur through a third party’s Buyer Protection Program; the criminal then immediately sends an email to the buyer with a fraudulent toll-free number that impersonates the third party.

The buyer is told to purchase prepaid gift cards in the amount of the agreed upon sale price and is instructed to share the prepaid card codes with the criminal. The criminal notifies the buyer they will be receiving the vehicle within a couple of days.

After the transaction goes through, the criminal typically ignores all follow-up calls, text messages, or emails from the buyer or demands additional payments. The vehicle is not delivered and the buyer is never able to recuperate their losses.

An additional warning. Companies like Experian are using fear mongering techniques trying to peddle “dark web scans” as a marketing ploy. Beware of so called FREE services that later try and sign you up for unneeded help.

Read our Used Car Buying And Selling Internet Advice guide before shopping online for a vehicle. As Doc says, the butt you save might be your own! 😉


Brand Fraud Alert: Amazon Craigslist eBay Protection Plans

Brand Fraud Vehicle Scam Example

BRAND FRAUD Consumer Alert! Beware of popular online venue brand names being used fraudulently to steal your money and your identity. Popular brands like Amazon and eBay are a scammer’s favorite target!

Brand Fraud is being committed by scammers offering unbelievably low prices on automobiles, electronics, jewelry, and vacations. You name it – there is a scam running online for it using a popular brand name as the seller. Smartphone apps like OfferUp and Letgo are being used to rip off local item sellers. Sellers are being robbed, and even murdered for their goods.

Brand Fraud Vehicle Scam Example
Scammers are using known brand names such as Amazon, eBay, and others, online to steal your money and identity

Fraudsters claim established brands like Amazon and eBay among others, process orders, and ship to buyers. This is a confidence scam targeting the naive!

On high-value items such as cars, boats, recreational vehicles, and even aircraft. Fraudsters instruct their victim to bank wire payments to a seller’s agent who is responsible for processing the transaction. The seller’s agent is some poor schmuck that has been duped into receiving a fraudulent payment into their bank account. That person keeps a percentage of the received funds for their commission.

Usually, the funds receiving person fell for work from their home job offer, after posting their resume on an online job search site. The receiving person is referred to as a money mule by law enforcement. Who wires the balance of those ill-gotten gains to the fraudster.

Fraudsters will often ‘rinse’ these fraudulently obtained ill-gotten gains several times in an attempt to hide their tracks. Fraudsters will also request payment by eBay, PayPal, Amazon, or other prepaid cash, gift, or debit cards. The victim has been instructed to email or faxes the redemption codes to the seller. Don’t do it – your money will be stolen in a flash!

Gift Card Scam Screen Capture
Gift car scams such as this example are another way fraudsters are stealing buyers’ money.

MoneyGram and Western Union cash transfer is often used on lower value items. Sometimes a fraudster will phish their victim out of a $300-600 or larger deposit. There are numerous angles to this scam so don’t swallow the sucker bait!

Vehicle brand scams brag about Free Shipping and often use known brands such as Dependable Auto Shipping or another well-known vehicle shipper that will deliver the car once payment is made.

This FAKE website is registered in Beijing China. It’s used to set up FAKE vehicle shipping. Don’t be a schmuck and lose your money to brand fraud!

Fake Amazon Domain Name
Counterfeit Amazon website used in vehicle shipping confidence scam. Registered in Beijing China.

When the victim sends the money, the scammer breaks off all communication and the buyer is left without his money.

FBI Report: Vehicle Purchase Protection Fraud
FBI vehicle purchase protection fraud report.

Sellers Agent Brand Fraud got its start on eBay Motors over a decade ago. We honestly believe eBay could have put a stop to fraud by educating their community.

eBay corporate profits were obviously more important than their member’s safety and security. Many fell for fraudulent listings, while eBay either claimed fraud was minuscule or denied its existence.

eBay Vehicle Purchase Protection (VPP) Brand Fraud was claiming so many victims in 2011, that the FBI launched an investigation into brand fraud.

The Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI) filed this report on August 15, 2011, advising consumers not to fall for scam listings. In this video, Romanian police bust several scammers. Look at all those Euros! Stay safe and don’t feed the brand fraud scammers!

There are many good deals on the net – but only if you do your homework first!

Doc is a former licensed Florida Auto Dealer with over 40 years of experience in the car business, now retired. During thirteen of those years in the car business, he specialized in Internet auto sales. Used Car Buying And Selling Internet Advice was published to assist consumers in buying and selling vehicles online.

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Why Are Consumers Still Being Conned After All These Years?

used car scam

Taking a drive over to eBay’s Motors community forum today It’s mostly the same old whine about getting scammed. As it’s often said in the car business, theirs an ASS for every seat. Unfortunately with eCommerce today many fraud victims never get to sit in their new seat. eBay like Craigslist, Auto Trader, or any other websites is just a venue. Scammers have become clever over the years. It’s the buyers responsibility to verify a deals legitimacy!

Too good to be true used car deal. Buyer scammed.

This kind of fraud has been going on for over 16 years that I’ve been blogging about it. Buyer most likely found a steal of a deal on Craigslist or some app. The seller scammer reeled him in.

From the forum topic: Did you see the vehicle on another website? Did you pay with gift cards? And did the seller offer free shipping? Were you sent an email from Ebay with buyer protection? Then Im sorry, but you were scammed. Ebay has nothing to do with this, you were sent a fake Ebay email and fell for it. Scammers love gift cards, because they are untraceable.Ebay cant help you.

ebay forum topics

Just another observation.. I must be bored today! 🙄

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Research The “What If’s” Before Losing Money Or Merchandise Online

fbi ic3

Have you lost money or merchandise online? Sadly you’re pretty much on your own. Most local police send failed internet transactions to the FBI’s IC3 website to file a complaint. Chances are you’ve went this route and never were followed up by the feds! 😥

fbi ic3
Smartphone screenshot of FBI IC3 eCommerce fraud reporting website

The internet today is like the old wild-wild-west of yesteryear. A time where their was very few laws, and even less law enforcement. Just walking into a saloon and looking at an outlaw often put a bullet into a persons head. Sadly this is the internet today as LE has not kept up with the times.

When updating our site move page yesterday, I was curious if the FBI IC3 website had been updated. A quick look revealed an old outdated basic html interface that looked the same as it did back in 2012. And even worse this website where consumers are sent to file a complaint was NOT mobile friendly. Good luck filing a complaint on this antiquated website with your smartphone.

Sadly consumers still fall victim to too-good-to-be-true low priced merchandise for sale on the net. Being a former used car dealer that sold cars online over the last 15 years I’ve witnessed hundreds of consumer lose their money to Internet car scams. And sadly today consumers still are being suckered, and it’s the same old yada yada yada go to the FBI IC3 website and file a complaint.

Then there are companies that solicit consumers to sell expensive electronics, jewelry, antiques, etc, who often fall victim to buyer return fraud. This hustle is performed on unsuspecting mostly private sellers. Buyer files a complaint claiming the item id broken or not as described. Company tells the buyer to return the merchandise for a full refund. Buyer is refunded and seller receives something else in return. Company says we’re sorry. The FBI IC3 is no help with white collar crime like this.

As it is these days buyers and sellers should research that “what if” situation if their eCommerce transactions do not go as planned. If you’re buying a used car online check out my used car buying and selling guide before purchasing or sending payment. NEVER pay for a used car with Gift Cards, this is a popular scam that’s reeling in suckers daily. When selling motor vehicles do not accept any form of electronic payment. The safest payment when selling used cars is bank wire transfer.

It’s my personal opinion that Fraud is an accepted practice when doing business online these days. Whatever happened to the good old days when a persons word was their bond? Businesses were built on word of mouth and referrals from satisfied customers. These days with eCommerce it’s hook-em and crook-em anyway you can. So your best bet is to cover your butt! 😉

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Doc’s Used Car Buying And Selling Internet Guide

doc's quality cars blog posts

This used car buying/selling guide is the most informative in-depth article ever published about motor vehicle buying and selling. Published by a retired used car dealer, Doc will guide you through the online car buying process for a rewarding experience!

Internet Car Buying Selling Guide

Be sure to read this guide before buying or selling automobiles online! 😉

Table of contents: Avoiding Fraud | Private Party Purchases | Purchasing From Dealers | Buying From Wholesalers | eBay Motors Vehicle Purchase Protection Program (VPP) | Newbie Car Dealers | Rebuilt and Salvage Title Vehicles | Vehicle History Reports | Vehicle Warranty | Vehicle Inspection | Buying Older Automobiles | Odometer Fraud | Vehicle Sales Tax | Making Safe Vehicle Payment | Advice For Sellers.

Buying a car from a private seller: Beware of private sellers that buy and sell vehicles without being licensed. Flipping vehicles from one owner to another. This kind of seller is an unlicensed used car dealer AKA the Curbstoner.

Example of a curbstoner. Buyer A the curbstoner buys a car from a little old lady in a local newspaper. Instead of going to the DMV and transferring that title into his name, the curbstoner resells the car to Buyer B.

Curbstoner (unlicensed car dealer) Selling Open Title Car
Unlicensed Dealer Selling Open Title Car

Buyer B prints his name on the back of the title but does not go to the DVM and transfer the title into his name. Instead, buyer B has done a few repairs and cleaned the car up. then decides to sell it.

In this situation, buyer B becomes seller B and sells the car to Buyer C who is in another state. Seller B crosses his name out on the back of the title and writes Buyer C’s name over his crossed-out name.

Seller B then hands the title to Buyer C who takes it to his tag office to transfer the title. The title clerk takes one look at that crossed-out name and rejects the title for transfer.

style=”font-weight: normal;”>Here is where the paperwork nightmare begins for used car buyer C. Buyer C’s motor vehicle bureau tells him to contact the previous owner whose name is printed on the title. Buyer A would be required to transfer this title into his/her name, pay any taxes due, yadda, yadda, yadda, then sign the new title they receive over to Buyer B who would repeat this process and sign the title over to Buyer C.

style=”font-weight: normal;”>The problem is the little old lady that sold the car has no idea to who she sold the car to. Buyer A paid her cash and had her sign off as the seller. By law, this car is Legally Still Titled in Her Name. If that car is used in a crime or involved in an accident, the police will come to her. It’s an absolute paperwork nightmare. Often it’s easier to get the registered owner to file for a duplicate title. Then sign it over to the person trying to title it in their name. Though a motor vehicle bureau official will not tell anyone this because it’s considered illegal. Any way you look at it, it’s buyer C’s absolute nightmare getting a transferable title.

TIP to avoid a non-transferable title situation: Vehicles are referred to as “Titled Property.” By law a motor vehicle can only be legally sold by it’s registered owner or a licensed dealer.

Doc advises anyone who is buying a used car long distance on the Internet from a private seller to request title documentation. Ask for a fax or email attach of “both sides of the title, along with a copy of the sellers drivers license or photo ID.” This is the best proof a long distance buyer can get proving the vehicle is titled in the sellers name. If the person selling the vehicle is not the registered owner – it’s not his car to sell!

If the buyer and seller are in the same state go with the seller to the motor vehicle bureau (DMV) to  transfer the title. And do not hand over the cash until the title clerk says the title is OK to transfer.

An audio clip from Doc explaining why buyer should ask seller for photo ID.

Curbstoning got so bad on eBay Motors that the auction house modified its Vehicle Purchase Protection Program (VPP) coverage to exclude curbstoners rather than set sale limits on private vehicle sellers. This means “buying a car and receiving title – but not being able to transfer it” (The Curbstoner Exclusion.) If you end up with a curbstoner car you might be stuck with a nontransferable title vehicle.

The only possible solution would be to locate the registered owner.  Have that person apply for a duplicate title and sign it over to you. Or file a suit against the seller. Attorneys are not cheap, and even if you manage to get a judgment it may be impossible to collect it. Add attorneys fees and court costs and the cost could exceed the value of the vehicle. So Just Beware!

Old Collector Cars are common for having open titles. Lots of these cars are either for parts or non-running. Or was a project someone started to restore but never completed. Others are restored but never titled in the owner’s name.  The car’s buyer bought it as an investment and didn’t want to pay the taxes and registration fees. It’s not uncommon to see a collector car go through a half dozen owners without a title transfer. If a collector car’s title has an error or gets lost it can be a nightmare getting a duplicate issued.

Buying a Car on eBay Motors: eBay offers up to $100,000 Vehicle Purchase Protection (VPP) on covered vehicles purchased from their Motors Venue. VPP is worth its weight in Gold for certain coverages such as. Buying a car that is stolen. Buying a car with an undisclosed lien. However, It only covers vehicles up to 10 years old. Covers buyers in the U.S.A and Canada only. And has a ton of exclusions. Anyone that’s considering buying a car on eBay Motors should read the coverage and exclusions fine print. VPP is not a substitute for good old common sense. Buyers should contact sellers and ask whatever questions they have. Buyers should also have the vehicle inspected, before bidding or purchasing.

Buying a car from a licensed dealer: A dealer most likely will want more for a car than a private seller. It’s a safe bet that the title will be proper and should be no problem to transfer. Dealers are licensed and also bonded in most states. But it’s still advisable to verify the dealer has a physical location. If so it’s a safe bet that you will not drive up to an abandoned building or vacant lot somewhere after sending payment for a car.

Buying cars from Wholesalers: It’s also common in the car business to have wholesalers working off another dealer’s license. The wholesaler usually pays a draft fee to use the dealer’s funding. And to gain auction access to source their cars. Lots of dealer cars are offered by wholesalers on the Internet. The wholesaler can issue temporary tags and deliver a car as a dealer’s agent. Plus the dealer is responsible for his agent’s actions. So buying from a wholesaler is a safe bet to deal with on a long-distance transaction.

Licensed Used Car Dealers Bidding At Auto Auction
Licensed Car Dealers Bidding At Auctions

Independent Dealers buy most of their cars at Dealer Auctions. These days the greatest majority of Franchised Dealers send all their trade-ins to the auction.

This accomplishes two things. It keeps their used car managers from taking money under the table and selling trades to their friends at a reduced price. Auctions also ensure the dealership will get top dollar for a nice trade-in unit. Vehicles are also sold as repossessions by banks and finance companies. Wholesalers selling made-up cars. And non franchised dealers swap the units they can’t sell among each other.

Older cars are mostly sold on the “red light” AS-IS with No Warranty. Dealers sell online lists and sell them the same way they buy them – AS-IS! When the auctioneer’s gavel falls and he hollers SOLD! Someone is the proud owner of that unit with any and all faults it may have. If it doesn’t have a reverse that’s too bad. There is no crying in the office about it. Lots of these kinds of vehicles end up for sale on the Internet! This is where a vehicle Inspection can be worth its weight in gold!

Becoming a new used car dealer: This is an experience some newbie car dealers may want to forget about. There is nothing like the experience the newbie dealer will gain by going to the “Unofficial Car Dealer School – The Dealer Auction.” Here they will learn all about bidding against the coke machine. Among other things that are unofficial trade secrets of the used car business.

Newbie car dealers also learn the hard way about buying a set-up car at auction. They usually pay every nickel for that (set up to sell) unit. The next day the air is hot. A week later that nice shiny finish fades away to reveal the painted panels and other things that were not noticed when the car ran through the auction. It sits around for a couple of months and does not sell. The newbie dealer takes it back to the auction to try and dump it. Unfortunately, the regular sellers get good early run numbers. Newbie used car dealer ends up running at the end of the sale when most everyone has gone home. The only way to get rid of a turd like this is to put it on the Internet and hope someone from another state buys it sight unseen without an inspection!

Rebuilt and Salvage Title Vehicles: Most car buyers have no idea what the word “Rebuilt Title” or “Salvage Title” means. When a car is severely damaged by an “Accident, Flood, Fire, or other damage which exceeds 2/3 of its book value an insurer may declare it a total loss. Soon afterward a total loss vehicle’s title is canceled by its issuing state.

Someone buys that total loss vehicle at auction or elsewhere. At that time the vehicle could be used for parts. Or its prior damage is repaired to become street legal again. Most states require that repaired vehicles be inspected by the State Division Of Motor Vehicles (DMV.) When the car passes inspection it is issued a Rebuilt Title. Different states have similar wording for the rebuilt titles, we are using the state of Florida as our example.

Certificate Of Destruction means just what it says. Vehicles with a certificate of destruction labeling can never be issued a rebuilt title. Certificate of destruction vehicles may only be used for parts. This kind of vehicle will never be street legal again, though another state may issue a title for it.

Rebuilt title used cars should be bought for around 30% of book value. Vehicles with rebuilt titles also may not be insurable. If considering purchasing a rebuilt title automobile contact your insurance company.

Rebuilt title older automobiles can be reliable cheap transportation. As an example. An older vehicle is involved in a minor front-end collision that deploys its airbags (SRS) and is declared a total loss. Acquiring used airbags, control modules,s, etc from a salvage yard and repairing them would make a good daily driver if it’s bought cheap enough. Inspect rebuilt title vehicles yourself or hire someone that can before purchasing.

Factory warranty remaining vehicles: Lots of late-model used cars have an advertised “Factory Warranty” Or the balance of a factory warranty remaining. It is advisable to check to be sure that the advertised warranty is correct yourself. Don’t just assume the seller is telling the truth. Get the vehicle’s Identification Number (VIN) and call your local dealer and inquire what warranty is remaining on that vehicle. Many situations will void a factory warranty. Accidents, Modifications, Abuse, Commercial Usage, Etc. Remember it’s your obligation to verify every detail about a vehicle you are interested in purchasing.

TIP: Once again Trust Nobody! Can you imagine being stuck making payments for several years on some falsely advertised late-model used car? The more money you are investing the greater the chance of getting taken advantage of by a bad seller in another state or country. Do your homework folks!

Vehicle History Reports: A CarFax report can be worth its weight in gold if you find out that the car you are planning on buying has undisclosed problems. Major accidents or salvage history, flood damage, odometer discrepancy, etc.

CarFax is without a doubt the leading authority in vehicle history reports. Vehicle history reports are only available for 1981 and newer passenger vehicles with the standard 17 Character VIN Number.

CarFax often includes major service history on vehicles that others do not. So if your looking at a car online and have serious thoughts about buying it. We a wise buyer and purchase a CarFax report on it. Remember these history reports are only displaying the data their companies purchase. They should only be considered a GUIDE to a motor vehicle’s history.

National Insurance Crime Bureau VIN Check
National Insurance Crime Bureau VIN Check

Another Good Vehicle VIN Check is the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). This database is FREE and a must-check to lookup insurance payoffs or other major vehicle damage.

style=”font-weight: normal;”>Doc once read a forum discussion where a buyer had won an auction for a late model Mazda Rx8. Experian Auto Check didn’t show any discrepancies. Even the car’s Carfax report was clean. But the NICB Database showed a total loss. Further investigation revealed that the owner of the car was paid an insurance settlement and kept the car so that settlement was never reported to the history report companies.

The private seller was deceitful and the buyer walked away. Once again it was a “Bargain Buggy” that turned out to be not such a bargain after all. This buyer was SMART and did his homework before paying for the car.

The old saying is often true. You get what you pay for! If you are looking into buying a used car in another state. Chances are it’s the low price that got your attention. Especially on auctions where the bidding can be at half of the book value or less in the beginning.

Buying older vehicles: Doc’s example of older means the used car is usually 8-10 years old or older. And has an odometer reading well over 100k miles. Don’t expect a perfect showroom condition car regardless of what the advertisement claims. An old car can run perfectly today and puke an engine or transmission the next day. It’s just the nature of old used cars.

While technology has improved the modern automobile. All this high-tech stuff is very expensive to fix when the vehicle gets old or out of factory warranty. An engine or a transmission can easily exceed the value of an older vehicle.

Some sellers advertise vehicles as being perfect but are far from it. The seller is banking on someone far away who will buy the car and have it shipped home without an inspection. Don’t get taken by a sleazy seller and buy without an inspection!

Vehicle Inspection
When buying a used car SUV van truck etc online, having it inspected is a must-have service.

Don’t fall for a car that has been “set up for photos.” The car might look good online but has hidden mechanical problems. This includes undisclosed frame damage or undercarriage rust. And many other undisclosed problems.

Certain cars when they get old have their own faults and failures. For instance, older Cadillacs with the early NorthStar V8 are prone to head gasket failures. Repairs such as this example can exceed the value of the car. It’s the buyer’s responsibility to either check the vehicle out in person. Or if that’s not possible have an inspection company check it out. There are many Mobile Inspection Services that will inspect a car in another state. If you buy a car sight unseen and it’s not as described you will be stuck like Chuck!

Odometer Tampering Fraud
Odometer Tampering Fraud – Including Exempt

Odometer Tampering Fraud: This is another situation anyone buying a car should be aware of. The LAW says that a vehicle’s odometer will not be tampered with. It’s very clear on the subject of rolling back an odometer. Or replacing an odometer with another show lower mileage. This includes exempt status vehicles. The law makes no exception to altering an exempt vehicle’s odometer. Any vehicle 10 years old or older is exempt from odometer recording.

If a vehicle’s odometer has been replaced or repaired it must be disclosed when the vehicle is sold. Franchised dealerships repair techs that replace an odometer as a rule put a notification sticker in a car’s door jamb showing the date and mileage (if known) that an odometer was replaced. New odometers from the dealer usually start off at 0 mileage (analog).

Shady used car dealers and scamming private individuals may alter (rollback) an analog odometer to deceive a buyer. Often a CarFax Report will show a vehicle’s mileage history. It’s a good investment to purchase a CarFax Report on any vehicle 1981 or newer to check the mileage readings. Also state DMV records, inspection stations, etc, record a vehicle’s mileage in the state database. If you suspect a vehicle you are considering buying is displaying the wrong mileage. Check the registered state DMV to see what their recorded mileage is on that vehicle. That information should be a public record, but you might have to pay them to get a printout.

A vehicle may have been into a franchised dealer for warranty service. Calling any franchised dealer and giving the service manager the last 8 of the VIN could reveal any odometer discrepancies. It’s also advisable to do a visual inspection. Check for wear on the brake pedal. Steering wheel. Check how easily the driver’s door opens and closes. Look for any visible signs that the mileage might be higher than the vehicle odometer is showing. Also, there is software on the market that will alter a digital odometer’s mileage reading. So if the odometer is digital, don’t rely on it being accurate. Do your homework and investigate for possible odometer fraud. It’s better to find out before purchasing a car that has been clocked than after the fact.

Odometer Exempt Vehicles: Any vehicle that is 10 years old or older is considered Exempt on Odometer Recording by Federal Law. Most dealer auctions will sell these age vehicles as “Odometer Exempt”. Chances are if a title transfer was done on an older car it will probably say Exempt on the title where the mileage would normally appear. Once a vehicle has been exempted it will stay that way.

An exempt qualifying older vehicle may possibly be registered as “Actual Miles” in most states as long as its supporting title and odometer reading/statement reflect this actual mile. Buying a 10-year plus automobile with an actual mile title? Get an actual miles odometer statement from the seller. Odometer statements can be downloaded on the net.

Old 5 Digit Odometers. Doc has seen many older cars with 5-digit analog odometers for sale. The car seller is advertising the car as actual mileage. This is mostly observed on old collector cars from the ’50s 60’s ’70s. The odometer (clock) has probably rolled over at least twice. In older cars, the condition of the vehicle is more important than low mileage.

There are no history reports on any car older than 1981 when the current 17 characters VIN became standard. So the only sure way to document the mileage on a collector or antique car is with service receipts. An old logbook that reflects dates and mileage reading of service work and oil changes etc. A logbook would have to look old to convince me it is legit. Don’t fall for a printed-out document with dates and mileage.

If you buy an older car and the title states “Actual Mileage” be sure to get the seller to sign an odometer statement that the mileage IS ACTUAL. When registering the vehicle be sure to request the DMV record the mileage as actual. You have to request this as they will record it Exempt if you don’t request it! This is really important to keep the market value upon an older car with actual miles. Transferring the title as Except might affect the car’s market value!

Vehicle Sales Taxes Effecting Out Of State Car Sales: Most states are reciprocal as far as collecting their taxes goes. It’s best to check with the dealer you are buying from about any tax liability. It is also recommended to call your state’s DMV to find out if any taxes are due when you register the vehicle. Every state is different. Also, be advised not all dealers follow the law and collect the proper taxes. If the dealer does not collect tax, you can usually pay it at your DMV when transferring the title. Be prepared to produce a Bill Of Sale to prove what you paid for the vehicle.

Making Safe Vehicle Payment: If you have done your homework and are ready to purchase your internet car use a safe payment method. NEVER use Western Union or any other Cash Transfer Service. Beware of Fake Escrow Services that will steal your money! WU is the Scammer’s Choice for receiving payments because a payment can be picked up in any country. All the fraudster needs is the money transfer number.

Beware of sellers that request payment by gift or prepaid debit cards. This type of fraud often uses PayPal and Amazon gift cards. The fraudster will request the card’s redemption codes by email. Beware of smartphone apps such as OfferUp and Letgo that are being used to defraud buyers and sellers.

Doc’s payment choice for doing an internet vehicle transaction online would be to send it by a bank wire transfer. If buying from a licensed dealer the dealer could provide you with the company’s bank wire transfer instructions via email or by fax. This is especially good if you will be getting the vehicle shipped home and want to be sure the dealer receives your payment. Another option is to pay by a Cashiers’s Check and mail it using USPS Priority or Express Mail with Signature Confirmation. This is important so you know they signed for it.

When Doc was selling cars on the Internet he would send the title and paperwork requiring a signature. Good insurance for making sure the title didn’t get lost in the mail. If a cashier’s check is lost in the mail, the issuing bank most likely would require you to put up a bond before replacing it. Don’t take the risk of getting stuck like Chuck because you were too cheap to properly mail the check!!

If you are picking the vehicle up in person paying cash on delivery is OK too. I would be sure the seller had the title and would be handing it over to the buyer on delivery. Be sure to have followed my advice earlier in this article and did your title ownership homework. Along with any vehicle inspection etc. There’s nothing worse than flying long distances with a ONE WAY TICKET and finding out the vehicle was a POS because you didn’t have it inspected.

Avoiding Internet Vehicle Fraud and Phishing Brand Scams: The Net IS INFESTED with Fraudsters who offer a vehicle for sale at an incredibly low price.

Don’t be a victim of Internet phishing scams!

If a vehicle’s price seems “unrealistically low” STOP and asks yourself. Is this a scam listing? What’s wrong with this car? Has it been in an accident? Was this car in a flood? Does this car have a rebuilt or salvage title? Don’t be defrauded!

Sellers Agent Vehicle Brand Fraud got its start on eBay Motors well over a decade ago. We honestly believe eBay could have put a stop to fraud by educating their community. But obviously, corporate profits were more important than their member’s security. Many fell victim to car scams on fraudulent listings, while eBay either claimed fraud was minuscule or denied its existence.

FBI Investigates Vehicle Purchase Protection Fraud
FBI Investigates vpp scams on consumers.

eBay Vehicle Purchase Protection (VPP) Brand Fraud was claiming so many victims in 2011, that the FBI launched an investigation into brand fraud.

The Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI) filed this report on August 15, 2011, advising consumers not to fall for vehicle scam advertisements.

Many fraudulent advertisements are found on,, Craigslist, eBay Motors, and many other online publications and smartphone apps.

Fraudsters are also advertising in conventional print publications like newspapers and magazines. Don’t lose your money to internet fraud!

Those ads you see are phishing sucker bait! And are intended to lure a prospective buyer to email the fraudster. The fraudster is most likely in Europe or another country operating out of an internet cafe or wireless broadband connection.

Internet fraudsters are pros at what they do! Steal money from gullible people thinking such an unrealistically low price is legit! Don’t Be a Victim of Internet Fraud!

Scammers are using Amazon’s Brand Name to defraud consumers. This counterfeit website is registered in Beijing China. It’s used as part of a confidence scam setting up non-existent used car shipping. Don’t be a schmuck and lose your money to brand fraud!

Counterfeit Brands Website Domain Name
The counterfeit website was used in a vehicle shipping confidence scam. Registered in Beijing China.

Folks if you are online used car shopping and plan to meet someone to buy a car (or another item.) It’s best to meet in a public place during daylight hours only. A busy mall parking lot, a local police station parking lot, etc.

These retirees were murdered and robbed when meeting a stranger to purchase a 1966 Mustang. Criminals answering ads on local smartphone apps such as OfferUp and Letgo. Then make arrangements to meet and do business, but instead, sellers are killed and their merchandise was stolen.

Do not take unnecessary risks your life may depend on it!

fraudulent vehicle invoice
Confidence scam that will steal your money and identity

If you fall for one of these used car phishing scams your money will be gone in the blink of an eye. Sorry to be blunt, but it’s like taking your money and throwing it in the trash!

Also, be aware of MONEY MULES that get suckered into taking payment for a VEHICLE as a SELLERS AGENT. Fraudsters contact people searching for jobs online and offer them jobs as an agent. The scammer has his victim wire the money to the agent who takes 10-20% of the sale proceeds as their commission. The agent (money mule) then wires the balance to someone else.

Scammers will often “RINSE” their dirty money several times in an attempt to hide their tracks. If a person falls for a work at home scam they could wind up in prison for “money laundering or grand theft.” The so-called agent will be up the creek without a paddle when the feds come knocking! So if someone contacts you about working for them as a seller’s agent collecting payments RUN!

Also of major importance. If you have emailed a scammer, there is a good chance they could have slipped a key logger or some other virus onto your computer. Be sure to do a full virus scan of your computer or smartphone. Then go online and change any banking or other online account passwords. Internet scammers are pros at doing what they do best stealing sucker’s money!

If you need a good free antivirus program try Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows. It works excellent and auto-updates its definitions just like Norton or other paid software.

Doc’s Best Advice For Internet Vehicle Sellers:

If you are selling your used car it’s best to put your terms of sale in your ad. Be sure to specify how you want to be paid. Cash on delivery is OK. If doing an internet transaction insist the buyer use a bank wire transfer to send your payment.

Also it’s always best to tell prospective buyers in writing that your used car is sold AS-IS with no warranty. Doc used to say “if this car breaks in half you own both halves” which pretty much sums it up. Put this verbiage in writing. Even if your car has the balance of its factory warranty remaining, It should still be sold AS-IS but worded that it does have its remaining balance of factory warranty that follows the vehicle, not the owner. An example is here.

Here is a short audio snippet explaining why the used car AS-IS Sale is best!

NEVER Accept PayPal for a used car full purchase price. PayPal is good if you are looking for a quick way to collect a vehicle deposit. Doc suggests no more than $200-300. Be aware a credit card-funded chargeback could cost you that deposit money as a seller. Chargebacks are the number one reason not to accept full payment for an automobile by PayPal.

PayPal Buyer Protection does not cover “Vehicles or Vehicle Deposits.” Doc has read horror stories online where some PayPal customer support reps did not know Vehicle specific rules and let a buyer reverse a vehicle purchase. If you have sold your car truck boat or whatever is considered a vehicle you could wind up stuck like chuck.

Also, it is possible to chargeback a credit card-funded used car purchase. However, a motor vehicle is considered titled property. Usually, credit card companies will not chargeback on the titled property. BUT buyers have been known to lie to their credit card provider saying something other than a vehicle was purchased.

If PayPal gets a notification of a chargeback they take the money back from your account. If your account is empty they give you a minus balance and take anything that is received from that point on. PayPal will eventually turn the uncollected balance over to collections. And will surely file suit if the balance owed is large enough. If you have something to attach and good credit you will be stuck paying them. Here is a Good Example of why PayPal should not be accepted for a motor vehicle.

Have questions? Comment below or post your question in our support forum.


Will Green Dots “Reload @ the Register” Stop Fraud

green dot moneypak reload @ the register cards

Green Dot Corporation just announced it’s “Reload @ the Register” program.

After reading a post on that touted the end of Green Dot Moneypak Fraud. “Bamboozled: How to end MoneyPak scams? If you can’t catch the con artists, kill the cards.” I searched the article for the companies press release on the subject.

Maybe I’m missing something in the below press release. As i read the statement all this is going to do is make the reload process easier. If you do not have a Green Dot moneypac card you will still have to buy a blank and have it loaded at the register. Unless store clerks are asking specifically “what are you using this card for” whats to stop a consumer from purchasing a card and giving the cards number to a fraudster? Green dot corporation makes no claim to stopping fraud in their press release.

Here is Green Dot Corporations official press release.

Launch of “Reload @ the Register”™ Makes Reloading Faster and Easier and more Intuitive
PASADENA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Mar. 31, 2014– Green Dot Corporation (NYSE:GDOT) today announced a new reload technology and consumer process designed to improve the retail cash reloading experience for its millions of Green Dot Reload Network users. Reload @ the Register™ is powered by Green Dot’s highly scalable and market-proven “SwIT” (Swipe Interface Technology) functionality. This real-time technology is designed to make reloading cash onto a prepaid card faster, more convenient, more efficient and more intuitive for the customer than using a paper reload “chit,” which is a method commonly used today by Green Dot and other competing reload network providers. Green Dot’s SwIT technology hit a major milestone in 2012 when it joined Walmart Rapid Reload™ and will now roll out to most of Green Dot’s other retail partners by the end of 2014.

“We expect Reload @ the Register, powered by Green Dot, will be a big win for all stakeholders in the prepaid card reload value chain,” said Helena Mao, General Manager, Green Dot Reload Network. “For the retailer, it means that they will no longer have to provide shelving for paper reload chits, which will reduce in-store labor to re-stock and maintain those products. For the prepaid program manager, it means a more intuitive reload process that’s easier for their cardholders to learn. And for prepaid cardholders, Green Dot’s Reload @ the Register service allows them to enjoy a faster, easier and more intuitive reload transaction without having to fuss with the intermediary step of transferring funds from the paper chit to their prepaid card.”

As the name implies, “Reload @ the Register” lets prepaid cardholders simply go to the register at any participating retailer to conduct their cash reload transaction. The cashier collects the cash from the consumer that he or she wishes to reload to their prepaid card along with any applicable reload fee and swipes the customer’s prepaid card through the retailer’s existing POS card terminal. The retailer’s terminal is connected to Green Dot’s data processing center where Green Dot is able to see the transaction in real-time. This real-time transaction method allows Green Dot to immediately credit reloaded funds to the customer’s card account without any further action required by the customer or the retailer. By comparison, the “paper chit method” of reloading requires the chit to be in-stock at the retailer and requires the customer to “load the chit” with cash and then go online or make a phone call to have the money on the chit transferred to their prepaid card. To read the rest of this press release see our above link.

green dot moneypak reload @ the register cards
Will Green Dot Corporation’s New Reload @ The Register Program Stop Moneypak Card Fraud?

So if you answer an advertisement for a car and are told to buy a Green Dot MoneyPac or other gift card, then send the card number to the seller for payment, RUN Away!

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