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Automotive fraud stalking the internet

As more and more people turn to the web as a way to save money and make informed automotive purchasing choices, the process of buying a car has gotten easier. This ease has created a new group of potential victims for those who use scams to relieve the unsuspecting of their hard earned cash. Here's how to avoid being taken.
Posted: March 22, 2011 - 6:42PM
Author: Don Bain

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iYogi is a pc technical support provider headquartered in Gurgaon, India who has issued a alert to help people defend themselves from this type of fraud.

"While a good deal is often difficult to resist, especially when it comes to buying an automobile. The Internet, while offering a wide choice and many genuine deals, is also filled with scammers waiting to dupe customers of their money," says Vishal Dhar, President of Marketing and co-founder iYogi. "One must be even more diligent when buying a car online as one would when buying a car from the neighborhood dealership in order to avoid falling prey to a scam."

Similar to recently publicized scams on rental properties, the criminals use marketing resources like Craigslist or other such sites to post attractive deals. Sometimes the scam uses a line on a high-end luxury vehicle, hooked with an ersatz mechanic’s testimony to its condition and baited with an unbelievable price.

Respondents will be told to send the cost of shipping the car from say Columbia, and as soon as the funds are received the seller disappears. As always, if it sounds too good to be true, chances are excellent it simply isn’t.

Sellers are targeted by the old check-kiting gambit. A prospective buyer sends a check for a listed vehicle for far more than the asking price. The seller is asked to refund the overage after the shipping costs are determined. If the seller can be lured into shipping the car and refunding the extra “paid” the check will bounce and the buyer will be out thousands of dollars as well as the car.

How to avoid such scams:
• Don’t jump at unrealistically good deals – there’s always a catch.
• Pick your own escrow service linked to an established auction site. Never take the advice of sellers who insist on a particular escrow service.
• Check out the website offering the deal, and watch for poor grammar in communications.
• Rely on your instincts. If your gut tells you something’s amiss, redouble your efforts at verification. Fraudsters usually flee at the slightest hint of suspicion.

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