A friend decided to sell a car with an internet ad. One of the people responding to it represented a dealership. The dealership examined the car and presented a document stating that the actual value of the car was 40% less than what was asked for in my friend’s ad. The dealer rep then offered to buy the car for $1,000 more–as if that was the best he was going to get. My friend held out. Finally, with some expert negotiation on his part, the dealership came in at just a few hundred dollars less than the asking price. That’s when the salesman talked too much and revealed that the dealership was now going to put the car up for sale on their lot for nearly TWICE the amount they initially offered. Their final target price? $5,000 more than the recent sales price.
That is not fraud, but it shows how a car owner can be “taken for a ride” by experienced sales people who are not obligated to tell you its value.
A con man, which derives from “confidence man,” gains trust and purports to help. His real goal in today’s digital world is to get passwords, keys, addresses, bank account information and tons of seemingly innocent information which he uses to his advantage–often leaving victims emotionally distraught and financially ruined. A confidence man has no conscience and forms no attachments.
A common scam in online sales is to offer to buy your car at the price asked and to send a check right away for more than the agreed upon amount. You are supposed to cash the check (with the bank saying it is good) and give the man your car and a few hundred extra bucks. Two days later, the bank calls and says the check was declined.
You are out your car and several hundred dollars.
When you list a car for sale on Craigslist, it is likely you will be approached by one or more potential cons. There are fewer scams on Facebook, since you can see the potential buyer, but just knowing his or her identity does not assure a fair sale.
Right now, the demand for both new and used cars is higher than usual for the season. COVID concerns have many people afraid to ride public transportation, so they are looking for vehicles. People are also saving more cash than usual. With fewer people eating out, that cash is accumulating and burning holes in many pockets.
Before you buy or sell a car, check out this list of common online car scams.
If that does not scare you into walking, the FBI has a good scam prevention page on their website.
It all makes for very entertaining legal reading– unless you are the poor sap who was taken.
For those of you who worry about the future of artificial intelligence and how it might affect you, check out Deepfakes. It might get you questioning your own identity!
Attorney Greg Gouner can help you sort out problems that may arise from scammers and thieves. He can even handle bankruptcy proceedings in cases where fraud has destroyed your ability to make ends meet. Contact his office today to schedule your confidential consultation.
Written by Ted Baldwin