Prospective car buyers warned against social media fraud
WESTERN CAPE – An analysis of registered crime has revealed a new trend of fraud where prospective buyers of used vehicles, mostly in the cheaper price range, advertised on social media platforms are being targeted. Vehicles are advertised by criminals at seemingly bargain prices on the various available social media platforms to lure their victims into the scam. Once the interested buyer established contact with the seller, he or she is made to believe that the vehicle generated huge interest and that a deposit is required to secure the deal or to reserve the vehicle. Once payment is made into a fraudulent bank account, the seller will become unreachable.
Although the South African Police Service does not discourage the use of social media platforms to do business, we wish to warn the public to treat online advertisements with caution and to verify the legitimacy of the vehicle or goods for that matter being advertised before any funds are paid.
The following hints could be useful to avoid becoming a victim of a fraudulent of fictitious transaction:
- Request the seller to take the advertised vehicle for a police clearance certificate before you negotiate the deal.
- The request for a deposit or upfront payment should signal a possible fraudulent deal.
- The reluctance of the seller to provide more contact details as the one being advertised could also be a sign that the seller has something to hide.
- Insist to see the vehicle personally at a safe and secure meeting place.
If you suspect that you are dealing with a scammer, please notify your local police and refrain from any further contact with the advertiser.
Official post on SAPS website