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Tips to Avoid Fraud When Buying a Car

» Posted July 18, 2018Resources | Share This Post

Buying a car is a huge investment, which is why it can be so upsetting to a new vehicle owner if it turns out the car they've purchased has serious problems. California lemon law protects new car buyers in these situations, but there are specific legal requirements that must be met in order to pursue a remedy. Contacting  a Sacramento lemon law lawyer is important to address issues because of the complexity of claims.

Car buyers need to educate themselves on consumer protection laws -- as well as on tips to help fight fraud during the car buying process -- if they want to minimize the likelihood of becoming victimized by financial loss. USA today recently provided help to would-be car owners on ways they can avoid fraud, even when shopping for a car online.

How to Avoid Fraud When Purchasing a Vehicle

USA today has warned how easy it can be to fall victim to scams and fraud when buying a car. An example is even provided, of an online listing of a vehicle with a competitive price. According to Consumer Reports, many scam listings contain numerous photos of the “car” that the scammer is purporting to be selling. The listings might also contain a vehicle history report showing the car has a clean title and no past problems.  Often, these ads will just provide an email address to ask for details but won't include a phone number.

When emailing with the scammers, typically they have a good excuse for why they need to sell the car at such a competitive price – such as having to relocate for a job. The scammers will then ask for the would-be buyer to wire the money for the car to an escrow company to hold onto until the transaction is complete. The escrow service purports to hold the money and offer a vehicle protection program so that the potential buyer has time to look at the car and see if he wants to go through with the purchase. The “escrow” company promises to repay the would-be buyer's money in full if there's an issue – but of course there is no legitimate escrow company and the money is gone once it's sent.

This type of fraud scheme has, according to USA today, ensnared more than 29,000 people since 204. Collectively, those who have been victimized by fraud have lost an estimated $54 million. People fall for the scams because they seem believable, and because the scammers use information cloned from actual car listings.

To avoid falling victim to this type of fraud, USA Today provided recommendations from experts including using independent online car verification tools such as Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds; avoiding sellers who won't meet in person and allow you to inspect the car before sale; and conducting a search to see if any escrow agency or other service that might be involved in the transaction is actually a legitimate service.

Following these recommendations can help protect you from loss, but you could still experience problems if you buy a vehicle that turns out to have defects. A Sacramento lemon law can provide you with help when problems arise with your car.


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