Common scams that target classifieds

Buying and selling of parts, automobilia and cars is part of a Jaguar Enthusiasts' life when looking after your pride and joy (or changing) and with so much now available online we are able to find that elusive car or part much easier. Selling we also now have a bigger audience to sell to, but with these tools, there are those who sadly target buyers and sellers alike because they are easy targets with little footprint for authorities to trace. Below is a quick look at some of the common emails and pitfalls of buying and selling online.

Buying Online

When looking for that elusive car or part, or a real bargain comes to light we tend to let our heart rule our head, so here are some tips to keep yourself safe when buying online:

1) If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Probably the first rule of thumb when buying online, it is not a cliche! With prices and guides so readily available, it is easy for people to know the worth of an item, and no one knows the value of something more than an "enthusiast". So when you see a rare XK150 3.8 Ltr "S" up for sale at a steal, remember this rule.

2) Ask questions. Following on from the first rule, ask plenty of questions. If it is a genuine item then the seller will answer the specific questions giving as much detail as possible, usually supplying information that only a genuine owner would be able to answer. Ask about service history, engine chassis number details, etc, If it is a fraudulent advert, then the owner will put pressure on you to buy rather than answer questions.

3) Never buy without seeing it in the flesh at a suitable location. This would really apply to high value or cars, not postable parts. Be wary if someone asks to meet at a random location, and not either their home or reputable garage. If you do view the car, is it the full V5 or just the green slip, does the address match?

4) Would I say / ask that if I was in their position? If you are unsure about some of the questions and wording being used, ask yourself, is this what I would ask/say? If the answer is no then its probably a scam.

This is not an exhaustible list there are always new and devious ways fraudsters try and catch out the unsuspecting buyer, but as a start these are great rules to keep you safe.

Buying Fraud

Selling Online

Selling online is an easy exercise to set up and very convenient, so its no surprise that fraudsters have targeted online selling platforms, as nothing makes us easy to scam than when we are feeling comfortable. Below are some common things to look out for if you are selling online:

1) The enquiry asks about the "item" for sale. The wording used in common scam emails will generally be the same, a big give away it the use of the word "item". Genuine people interested in what you are selling will ask a specific question and generally reference the car/part you are selling in that question.

2) What is your best / final price? This is not bad negotiation an bartering, but a key warning sign that they want to move the conversation on to what will be point number 3 below. Again genuine buyers will tend to negotiate after they have asked some specific questions about what you are selling.

3) Sending a cheque to cover shipment. If the conversation moves to payment and the mention of a cheque to cover shipment/transport costs, then this is a scam. The story will go along the lines of "really want to buy the item, but I am away at the moment / work abroad and cannot visit in person. I will send a person on my behalf but I will send a cheque now to cover any shipment costs". A cheque will arrive and for far more than the sales price, this is covered in point 4.

4) Cheque for more than the agreed selling price. A cheque will arrive for far more than you agreed as a selling price, the reason being "to cover transport costs," they will go on to say once the cheque has cleared just return the difference. Be warned you are about to a) launder money and b) lose a lot more! At this point, destroy cheque, it is definitely a scam.

5) Would I ask / say that if I was in their position? Another simple rule of thumb, does this sound like something someone genuinely interested in your car/part would say? Would you say that if it was you buying?

This is again not an exhaustible list, but a guide to the more common ways people are being caught out fraudsters are targeting online sellers. If it doesn't feel right, then it probably is not.

Selling Fraud

Keep Safe

The above lists are to be a guide, to help you keep safe when buying and selling online. Our JEC Classifieds are open to members and non-members alike, and their success has meant that we do sadly get targeted by fraudsters. Many of the scenarios we hear of are all very similar in nature, so we hope this handy little guide will help reduce your worry and make that next purchase or sale a nerve free transaction.

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