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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


Park Village Auctions warns of ‘alarming escalation in’ fraud, scams

Scammers are employing advanced social engineering tactics to prey on vulnerable individuals, often those desperately seeking affordable vehicles.


Park Village Auctions (PVA) is sounding the alarm on the rising tide of sophisticated auction scams targeting unsuspecting buyers.

These fraudulent schemes – which have plagued the industry for years – are becoming increasingly elaborate and difficult to detect.

“We are seeing an alarming escalation in auction-related fraud,” says Clive Lazarus of PVA.

“Scammers are employing advanced social engineering tactics to prey on vulnerable individuals, often those desperately seeking affordable vehicles.

“It’s crucial to understand that ‘auction’ is the operative word here. “Legitimate auctions don’t have pre-sales or reserves.

“The only payment required upfront is a refundable deposit to participate in the auction itself.

“This is precisely where people must be extremely vigilant and take all necessary measures to ensure they’re dealing with the real auction house,” he adds.

Key features of auction scams:

  • Fake social media advertisements, particularly on Facebook and Instagram;
  • Fraudulent websites mimicking legitimate auction houses;
  • High-pressure tactics for upfront payments;
  • Elaborate back stories and impersonation of auction house staff;
  • False promises of employment to recruit accomplices; and
  • Deceptive claims of “pre-auction” sales or guaranteed reserves.

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“The sophistication of these operations is truly concerning,” says Lazarus. “Scammers are now tailoring their approach to match the demographic profile of their targets, making their schemes more convincing.

“We’ve even seen cases where fraudsters are ‘employing’ victims, promising full-time positions once they’ve sold a certain number of cars. These fake job offers are another way to lure people into their scams.”

How to avoid a scam:

  • Always insist on inspecting vehicles in person before engaging with an auction house;
  • Be wary of auctions advertised primarily through social media;
  • Report and block suspicious profiles on social platforms;
  • Verify the legitimacy of auction houses through official channels;
  • Never feel pressured into making hasty payments or decisions;

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Remember that legitimate auctions only require a refundable deposit for participation, and be sceptical of unsolicited job offers related to selling auction vehicles.

“Education and public awareness are our best defences,” says Lazarus.

“We’re committed to aggressively pursuing takedown notices for fraudulent websites to combat these crimes.”

PVA encourages anyone who encounters suspicious auction activity to report it immediately.

The company also reminds the public that legitimate auctions follow strict protocols and it will never pressure buyers into quick decisions or upfront payments without proper verification.

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