Looking for a new car is a very exciting time! You’ve saved the money, done your research, you check for the vehicle you want on classifieds websites and you enquire from sellers. A motoring scam is the last thing on your mind!
One of the ads you’ve responded to looks awesome and what a find it is! The seller lets you know that the vehicle is still available and you want to jump for joy, transfer the money and get your new baby!
This is where you should take a step back and assess the situation very carefully. Ask yourself if the deal seems too good to be true? Is the seller too eager? Is the seller trying to get you to pay a deposit without you having seen the car? If you answer yes to any of these questions, we urge you to take extreme caution.
A deal that seems too good to be true, usually is. If the seller is too eager, it means they could be attempting to lure you into a deal that is going to leave you wondering where your money went (yes, some people are simply cash strapped and urgently need the money, but even they would not ask for a deposit before you’ve seen the car).
Never, ever, pay even a very small part of the cost before you’ve seen the vehicle and done your homework. Some people feel paying R1000 as a ‘holding deposit’ doesn’t seem that bad, but remember you are not the only person paying R1000. You’re also not the only person who won’t get to view the car and never see that money again!
A very vigilant Junk Mail user alerted us to a new vehicle scam doing the rounds on classifieds sites. Please read the process carefully and make sure that you are not scammed:
- Buyer responds to advert
- Seller responds from different e-mail address saying his wife placed the ad and he is not sure what details she provided in the ad
- Seller then goes on to give details about the vehicle and says he is in the process of moving to another country. The Seller is prepared to bring the vehicle anywhere in South Africa, but gives the wrong vehicle’s description.
- Buyer would then ask to meet at specified area.
- Seller says he is busy and meeting up will take time (he is far away). The seller then mentions that he has a solution through the classifieds site. He will ask the buyer for their full names, address and phone number to ‘register them as a buyer on the classifieds site’. The seller then agrees that after the buyer is registered on the classifieds website, he will bring the vehicle and documents to do the hand-over.
- An email is sent to the buyer from a holding domain email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject “Transaction #921FUE194Bza1 – Buyer name and surname”. This e-mail has the classifieds site’s branding on and contains an invoice for a purchase for the 2001 Toyota MR2 Roadster 1.8. It also had information on how to pay through Western Union.
- Buyer receives another e-mail from the holding domain stating that they are trying to launch a transaction for the MR2 with thanks from the Classifieds Website Team.
- The buyer is then expected to transfer money without having seen the vehicle and without ever having spoken to the seller telephonically. The buyer states that this is requested by the classifieds site to ‘protect both parties’.
- The buyer will keep on receiving e-mails with details on how to deposit funds into a Western Union account, but the address will not be South African.
Please note that Junk Mail Publishing is in no way involved in the transfer of monies or goods with regards to items advertised on any of its platforms.
Online advertising is a great way for many honest, hard working people to sell their goods without having to spend a fortune, but unfortunately a handful of people think they have the right to ‘scam and steal’ their way through life.
Always remember to trust your instinct. If a situation leaves you uncomfortable, it’s best to take a step back!
If you would like to report a scam or suspicious advertising, please send a detailed e-mail to Moderation@JunkMail.co.za or call us on 012 342 3840.
Safe buying and selling Junk Mailers!