Police warn of on-line vehicle buying scam

The NSW Police Force has issued a warning about a scam targeting members of the public looking to buy vehicles on-line.

Police say that over the past two months there has been an increasing number of duplicate ‘for sale’ motor vehicle advertisements on car websites.

Fraud Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Col Dyson, said the price in the duplicate advertisement is for much less than the legitimate owner’s asking price.

“The fraudulent sellers do not have the advertised vehicle and are merely after your money,” Detective Superintendent Dyson said.

“Car buyers are being lured into paying a cheaper price for a vehicle that is not in the possession of the advertiser.

“More commonly, either the vehicle or the seller purports to be overseas and has a plausible reason for selling the vehicle quickly and cheaply. It potentially leaves the buyer with no vehicle and out of pocket for thousands of dollars.

“The owners of the legitimate vehicles are also unaware of their advertisement being duplicated.”

Detective Superintendent Dyson said the vehicles that are being targeted are models between 1999 and 2006 and makes include, but are not limited to: Lexus, BMW, Honda Odyssey, Ford Focus, Ford Falcon, Toyota Landcruiser and Volkswagen Golf.

All vehicles identified as being duplicated have been advertised for sale in the <$10,000 category.

Detective Superintendent Dyson said the incidents are subject of investigation by the NSW Police Force, but there are steps people can take to lessen their risk of becoming a victim.

“This type of fraud is not always limited to the sale of vehicles and there are a number of precautions people should take when buying an item over the Internet to reduce the risk of being the victim of a scam,” Detective Superintendent Dyson said.

Police offer the following advice:
Don’t send money until you have seen the car and verified the validity of the sale;
If based locally, meet with the seller at a well-populated location to inspect the item.

“Most importantly, if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is and you should proceed with absolute caution,” Detective Superintendent Dyson said.

Anyone with information about people involved in this type of scam are urged to contact police via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and all information will be treated in the strictest confidence.

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