How the scam works:
Crooks know that when it comes to cars, buyers look for deals locally first as the vehicles are easier to verify.
With that in mind, after posting a fraudulent ad and making first contact, the scammer gains the buyer’s trust by mentioning a few local streets and neighborhoods (the result of good research), but then says the car is located someplace other than where it was initially advertised, for whatever reasons.
Assuring the car will be shipped, the scammer generates a bogus negotiation about the shipping fee, which they end up “losing” – meaning, he will “pay” for the shipping. The victim pays the money for the car but never receives it, and the thief gets away with thousands of dollars.
How to avoid:
Never ever buy a car without seeing it or testing it. If the vehicle is in a different state or province go and pick it up yourself and never pay in advance. If the seller is for real, they will not push you to pay before seeing it.
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