Increased Car Purchase Scams Are Costing Many Dearly
It seems as if there are new scams appearing every day. These scams are designed to cheat you out of your money or possessions. One of the newest ones involves selling your car on the Internet or via other forms of advertisements.
The way the scam works is that someone answers your ad wanting to purchase the automobile you have for sale. They explain that they had a wreck and are looking for a replacement. They will ask you to accept a check they have received from their insurance company as all or part of the payment. If it is part payment, they will provide a personal check for the balance.
Happy with this arrangement, you accept the check or checks and sign over the car’s certificate of ownership. Unfortunately, several days after depositing the check you find out that it's a dud. Many times it is impossible to track down the people who have pulled this scam meaning you are left without a car or the money you expected to have.
If this happens to you the incident should immediately be reported to the appropriate agencies as are listed below.
- The local police department. They may have had similar complaints or may be able to make suggestions as to how to trace the car and locate the people involved.
- Your State’s Attorney General. They have a consumer’s complaint division that keeps track of reported incidences and can offer suggestions. They are listed in your telephone directory or can be found on the internet.
- The local FBI office. This law enforcement agency takes these scams very seriously and has an extensive data base that can compare your complaint to others reported. Their agents may also be able to suggest methods to use in tracking down the vehicle.
- The Internet Fraud Complaint Center. Going on the internet and clicking on http//www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx will provide the form necessary to file the appropriate complaint.
The importance of reporting this fraud to the proper authorities cannot be over-emphasized. This allows authorities as well as other consumers to be aware of this type of fraudulent scam so they may take measures to protect themselves.
As a precaution, before ever accepting a seemingly authentic check for any reason it is prudent to verify that the check is genuine and that there are funds to back it. This is especially true with second party checks, such as from supposed insurance companies. With today's new technology, it is very simple to print out checks that look like the real thing. Always take time to make any necessary phone calls, even on seemingly genuine cashier’s checks.
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