While the majority of people involved in the hobby of rodding are honest and well-intentioned people, there are some basic guidelines we would encourage you to use when buying or selling a car over a distance. It's not like buying a car from around the corner. In addition to basics, there are also some scams you should be aware of. We try to inform you of any shady dealings that we hear of but there are bound to be innovative crooks out there with something new at every turn in the road …..
Jan 2008- We have just heard about some rodders being scammed on cars they had seen on other online publications but wanted to pass this very important information along to you. In these cases people lost $30k in one deal and another person lost $100k in another deal both buying a car from someone in Canada. They did not look at the car or have anyone look at it but were sent many photos and spoke with the person by telephone and all sounded legit. They were told to wire money to a Bank in Canada and once they did they were not able to reach the person again..... apparently there is no car and these guys are “OUT” a lot of money. Hindsight is always 20/20 but it’s possible for us to all learn from this and there are a few tips we want to suggest.
1) We really think you should always look at a car before buying or at least have someone else look ... but if you don’t want to go that way..
2) “Google” the persons email address and name and see if anything at all turns up
3). We suggest that if you are asked to wire money to any other foreign country (even Canada) you be very wary. You may want to call the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) fraud unit and ask them for assistance and voice your concerns.
4) We would suggest that whenever you are buying a car ... in USA or not ... you tell the seller you want to arrange for an inspection by a friend .... even if you don’t have someone ... you will learn a lot from their reaction ... if they try to dissuade you ... then don’t do it... something’s fishy.
5) We also suggest that you do not buy from or sell to someone unless you can speak to them on a LAND LINE ... not a cell phone. You can much more easily track down a land line phone number. If you Google a phone number or go to 411.com you can find out if it’s a land line or a cell phone.
6) We suggest that you ask to have faxed or emailed to you, a copy of the persons Drivers License and then try to verify that info. Experienced Crooks may get around this with a phony but chances are they are not expecting you to ask for this and may not have it.
7) Get a physical address from the person and Google it ... sometimes you can get an actual picture of the residence, sometimes you can also get the phone numbers of surrounding people or businesses... and if necessary do some investigation before you send that money.
8) If you are suspicious .... don’t do it ... trust your instincts no matter how nice the car. If you feel you have been victimized contact the publication where you saw the vehicle. If this were to happen at Hotrodhotline.com we would immediately step in and do all we could to provide you with information that would help .... it is not our policy to protect scammers or thieves in the name of “privacy”.
Counterfeit Money Used to Buy Cars We have also been informed of one case where someone at a show accepted a large amount of cash for his car and the money turned out to be counterfeit. It has been suggested that if you are planning on accepting cash for your car, it would be a good idea to buy one of those pens used in stores so that you can check the bills. You can get them at Office supply stores for a few dollars .... a good investment.
So the old addage …. "If it sounds too good to be true….. It is" is a good rule of thumb. Also, if anyone wants you to give them money back when they buy your car or parts…. One simple rule "DON"T" Let them work out whatever their problem is themselves…. Now having said that…. We will list a few of the scams we are aware of and give some links to places that may be of some help if you should choose to pursue it..
Transfer of Money when buying a car. Both buyers and sellers need to know that a "Cashiers Check" is not as good as cash. They can be stopped, they can be counterfeited, they can be forged or changed to reflect a different amount than purchased for. Unless you are very very confident of the person who is giving you a cashiers check then you need to think about whether you should accept one. You can no longer verify the validity of a cashiers check by calling the bank that issued it ….. You will not know if it was real for several weeks. If accepting a cashiers check you should be careful to validate the identity of the person giving it to you ….. It may be just fine but don't just accept a cashiers check at face value… you could get stung. Wire transfers are the safest method of transfer that we know of, followed only by Western Union. In both of these instances, actual cash must be available before the transfer is made. You do need to be wary of giving out your banking information to people though. We have heard that some of these scam artists are now saying they will wire money to people and getting their banking numbers and somehow using the information to get money from the account. You should always check with your banking institution for advice on any type of transfer of funds or acceptance of checks. They are the experts…. Not us. We would advise that you NEVER give this type of information out by email or to anyone who you cannot verify the identity of by phone, U.S. Mail, etc. Do not do business with anyone who you cannot talk to and get a physical location for .... if they are not willing to provide this information then they have something to hide.
Transportation of Vehicles: If you hire a transport company to ship your car, we would recommend that you check their records thoroughly. We would recommend that you do not go with any company that has a non-refundable deposit or who will not give you a delivery date in writing. This includes the companies who advertise with us. We do not check the credentials of our advertisers, but we will refuse advertising and remove anyone who has had complaints lodged against them with us and who we feel have not "made it right" with our customers. We suggest that you check the Better Business Bureau in the town where the company is located and also check the Department of Transportation record for the company. Some companies change names frequently to avoid bad reports so beware of a company that is "new" as it may just have changed it's name. Get references…. We think that personal references are a great way to check out these companies.
This is the most common scam for people selling cars and/or other goods either on the internet or in newspapers… They send a message like this …..
I am an international business man, specialised in dealing,purchasing and selling of autos.I also help my foreign client to ship there auto to any place of there desired country or destination, most especially Europe cause i have a shipper who takes care of the shippment, so shipping will not pose any problem.
Presently i have a client who has asked me to help him purchase an auto subjected above which will be shipped to africa . As i was browsing through the internet, i saw your advert and i will like to purchase it for my client, but before payment will be made i need to be sure of who i will be dealing with if you are going to be honest and sincere throughout the transaction.So to start with, signify your interest by forwarding to me your last offer as well as your method(s) of payment through the email, after which we can continue with the transaction and i promise if all conditions and agreement are accepted and reached on time, payment will be made out almost immediately.hoping to here from you as soon as possible.
Respectfully, Charlton Heston.......… FOLLOWED UP WITH ….
Thanks for your urgent response. My Client perffered mode of
payment is a cashiers check in united states dollars well the price offer
$2000 is okay by me but i will like you to include ($4500) this will
covers my commission and the shipment fee bringing the total amount to $ 6500 which will be on your performa invoice. Be informed that I have spoken with my client as regards the price and he has agreed to make the payment , but before I give him the go ahead I want you to assure me of sending the balance ($4,500) to my shipper through WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER immedaitely you recieve the payment from my client since the payment will be made to you directly via cashiers check drawn on U.S bank to enable me pay my shipping fees and arrange pick-up from your location. Inview of the above, I want you to give me your word of trust so that we can proceed with this transaction if you are okay with my conditions.if this is okay by u get back to me with your Full Name, Address and phone number which the check will be sent to. I await your urgent response.
Respectfully, Charlton Heston
Sometimes they say they are from another country…. But not all of them are. This scam has been going on for a few years now but they continue to bilk people.
Dept of Transportation for info on specific Transport companies You can enter the Name or DOT number of any company in the left margin.
Or Main Page Dept. of Transportation
Buying a car over a distance is done all the time, and in most cases it works out fine …… but…. (there's that "but") there are some common sense things you can do to keep your purchase from ending up poorly. There is no substitution for you PERSONALLY looking at and driving the car before you buy it. We know that this is not always possible but would advise that you have someone look at a car before you buy it. You can get an appraisal or inspection by a professional. You could have a friend or relative nearby go look at it. You could contact a club or organization in the area of the car and see if someone affiliated with them would look at the car for you. If you do decide to buy a car without anyone looking at it you should at least get very very good pictures and a video of the vehicle including sound with the engine running. But no matter how good the pictures or video there is no substitute for a personal inspection of some kind.
We hope that this has been of some help to you and given you some resources and information for what may be a very large transaction. We know that most people in our community are great people but the big bad world out there does have some elements that are out to defraud people and some of those people do infiltrate our little niche from time to time. We have tried to include information we thought would be helpful but really can't pretend that we know of all of the schemes out there so please just always be aware and do your homework before buying or selling your vehicle.