Poor Credit Buyers and Seller Fraudby Steve Cypher on Saturday, November 3rd, 2012
Car buyers, even those with poor credit, certainly should be aware of how fraudulent sellers use websites such as Craigslist.com.
At Auto Credit Express we’re aware of this because we’ve been helping applicants with credit problems find dealers for their best chance at auto loan approvals.
We also work this way because we know the franchised new car dealers in our network are all licensed to do business in their respective states. This means they are required to maintain a physical presence that includes repair facilities.
So what chances do you take when you choose to buy from someone other than these kinds of dealers?
Used car fraud
With the fall car buying season upon us, it’s time to take a look at some tips from H.E.A.T. (Help Eliminate Auto Thefts), a Michigan organization that works with various law enforcement agencies to follow-up on auto theft-related tips.
“Online used car shopping, particularly on unsupervised sites like Craigslist, is a prime breeding ground for criminal activity, especially the selling of stolen vehicles,” said Terri Miller, director of H.E.A.T.
“Despite the increase in fraudulent activities, there remain plenty of honest drivers looking to buy or sell a pre-owned vehicle online,” continued Miller. “H.E.A.T. wants to remind Michigan consumers to take extra precaution and due diligence to ensure that you’re dealing with one of the good guys.”
Tips from H.E.A.T.
If you plan on shopping online for a used car, H.E.A.T. also suggests that consumers follow these tips:
Meet at the S.O.S. – As either the buyer or seller, insist that you meet your other party to conduct the deal at a Secretary of State office during normal business hours. It is a safe, neutral location and allows for the completion of the deal (title transfer) to be conducted at the point-of-sale. Any reputable seller or buyer should take no issue with this request. If the other party in your deal has an excuse as to why he/she can’t oblige this request, that should set off a red flag immediately and you may want to cut your losses before it’s too late.
Triple-check the VIN – As a buyer, before handing over any money, be certain to closely inspect the Vehicle Identification Number on the seller’s paperwork and in two locations on the vehicle – both the dashboard and the inside panel of the driver’s door. If the three VIN numbers are not identical, it’s likely you are about to purchase a stolen vehicle that has been re-tagged. Report the seller immediately to local police and the H.E.A.T. confidential tip line.
Get Guaranteed Payment – As a seller, insist that the buyer provide a bank-issued certified check when purchasing your vehicle. Fake cashier’s checks and money orders are common, and there is no guarantee that a personal check actually comes with the necessary funds to back it up.
Again, any well-intentioned buyer should have no issue with this request. If he or she does, take it as a warning and walk away from the deal before you’re left with no vehicle and no pay off.
The Bottom Line
Nearly all subprime auto lenders offer loans only through franchised new car dealers for a reason- they, like most buyers, want to be protected from possible sales fraud. For this reason, car shoppers, even those with bad credit, should be aware of the chances you take when buying a vehicle online.
Here’s another tip: if you have past car credit issues, we want you to know that Auto Credit Express specializes in placing applicants with franchised new car dealers that can offer you the best chance for approved auto loans.
So if you’re ready to establish your auto credit, you can begin now by filling out our online auto loans application.