Fake car deals on the rise, warns SA banks
Before transferring your hard-earned cash for the ‘bargain’ you’re about to buy, remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Some of South Africa’s biggest banks have warned consumers about a rise in fake car deals as criminals get more sophisticated in trying to con you out of your hard-earned cash.
Sameer Kumandan, managing director of SearchWorks, says criminals are targeting South Africans who turn to the internet to make their lives easier – especially for things like researching long-term financial commitments such as buying a car.
Fake vehicle adverts have become relatively sophisticated as of late, usually even including photos to match the vehicle description with contact details of the so-called seller.
If you’re not aware that you might be walking into a potential trap, it can be easy to become a victim of a fake car deal.
Speaking to eNCA, Kumandan said most people fall victim to these scams because criminals often sell the vehicles way below market value, leading to potential buyers thinking they are getting a bargain. He warns that if a deal sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
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How to avoid falling for fake car deals:
- If you notice the same seller names and vehicle models appearing on multiple platforms, this should raise a red flag.
- Never make an urrgent deposit or full payment to secure a vehicle you saw online, but not in person. If the deal makes you feel uncomfortable, walk away.
- Consider going through a trusted dealership as buying a car is a huge financial commitment. A reputable dealership offers peace of mind as companies are accountable in terms of the Consumer Protection Act and other regulations.
- If you suspect fraud, or if someone is attempting to gain unauthorised access to your personal banking information, contact your bank and nearest police station as soon as possible.
- Verify the details of the seller and the vehicle being sold. This can be done via platforms such as SearchShop who provides consumers with a vehicle report that includes information such as make and model details, motor plan and service intervals, estimated value, factory-fitted extras, optional extras on the car, VESA information, safety and security information, size and weight, fuel economy, finance information, mileage history, microdot info and theft details and alerts.