Everyone has gotten used to being able to buy just about anything online, and that includes cars. There are some well-known online car dealers that let you choose your car and have it delivered to your home. You can even get financing through the sites if you need it.
Of course, like anything, those who make a living defrauding unsuspecting consumers have found opportunities in this new marketplace. Often, they pose as private sellers, but they have no vehicle to sell. They simply want to get information like Social Security numbers, bank account information and other identifying data.
Some are hoping people will send them money or other assets of value when there’s no vehicle to purchase. When someone claiming to have a car to sell asks for the funds via wire transfer and gift cards, that should be a big red flag.
Anyone who is legitimately selling a vehicle should provide the vehicle identification number (VIN). You should also be able to see and drive the car before you finalize the purchase. If the “seller” won’t cooperate with requests for these things, walk away.
Curbstoning victims can end up with a car not fit to drive
Unfortunately, even car dealers can engage in online scams. A popular one is called “curbstoning.” That’s when a dealer has a vehicle with a salvage title or other damages. A salvage title indicates that a car has been totaled or at least seriously damaged and isn’t safe to drive. Dealers can’t legally sell these vehicles, so they present themselves online and sometimes will meet a buyer somewhere to show them the car.
Once again, getting the VIN and looking it up is crucial to avoiding a curbstoning scam. By having the vehicle’s true VIN, you can help ensure that there’s not a serious issue that could cause the car to break down, become dangerous or be difficult to insure.
If you’ve been the victim of a scam, it’s wise to seek legal guidance as soon as possible. This can help you seek justice and fair compensation.