BBB warning of scams when buying vehicles online
The coronavirus is forcing many people online for their purchases, and Jo-Ann Deal with the BBB of Northeast Louisiana says they’re seeing more scams with vehicle purchases online.
She says if you’re looking to make a big purchase, you want to research that item heavily. For vehicles, she says you want to ask for a few pieces of information before buying.
"If they won't give you the VIN number, the serial number, the make and model, and mileage on the car so you can go to CARFAX for example, and verify it, you should walk away,” says Deal.
A lot of the scammers make the price seem too good to be true and buyers can fall into the trap of getting excited and rushing into the sale.
"If the seller won't meet with you then you probably don't have a real seller and a real car,” explains Deal.
If you’re buying on eBay, they do have the eBay Vehicle Protection Plan, which covers certain transactions on the site. Deal says if the seller offers that plan on another platform, like Craigslist, then it’s not real.
"If it's legitimate, they will be patient and will allow you to do your research,” says Deal. “[…] it should be a red flag if for some reason the vehicle is in one location and the seller is in another location."
Deal says they’re seeing more calls in NELA offering “high yield savings accounts” or an option to invest money from your savings account into gold. She says this isn’t real either, and they’re just trying to get your financial information.
"If someone calls you and tells you they're with a certain organization, hang up the phone, go to that organization's website,” explains Deal. “Remember there will be a lock in the upper left-hand corner of legitimate websites."
And she says you shouldn’t be paying for items with gift cards.
"Call us and check things out with us before you give out any information, we had an individual who gave out their social security number on Friday and then decided not to make the investment,” says Deal. “Once you give out your personal identifiers you have then exposed yourself to identity theft."
Call the BBB’s office at (318) 387-4600 and they’ll help you research. Since everyone is working from home, your call will be forwarded to voicemail and they’ll return your call as fast as possible. Deal says wait until you get a call back before making a decision.