Police are reminding people to be wary when shopping online after several Tasmanians have been scammed purchasing vehicles totalling over $100,000.
“Since October 10 Tasmanians have reported to police that they’ve been scammed after purchasing what they believed were legitimate vehicles advertised online,” said Detective Sergeant Paul Turner.
The majority of the scam vehicles were advertised on social media and online buy and sell platforms, often advertised for lower than its actual value.
“It’s timely to remind all Tasmanians to be wary for scams when shopping online – if something seems too good to be true or suspicious, it probably is,” said Detective Sergeant Turner.
“If you are considering purchasing a vehicle advertised online and the seller claims you need to make online payment before you can inspect or physically take ownership of the vehicle – stop immediately, it’s likely a scam.”
Anyone who thinks they are the victim of a scam can contact www.cyber.gov.au
Further information on scams is available at scamwatch.gov.au
Advice for potential buyers on all retails type scams:
- If the advertised price of a vehicle seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you have any doubts, don’t go ahead with the purchase.
- Don’t trust the legitimacy of an ad just because it appears in a reputable newspaper or classifieds website – scammers post fake ads in these too.
- Do an internet search using the exact wording in the ad, many well-known scams can be found this way.
- Do as many checks as you can to ensure the legitimacy of the advertisement.
- Never trust a seller or buyer who says that the transaction is guaranteed by social media or an online buy and sell platform. These sites explicitly do not guarantee that people using their services are legitimate.
- For expensive physical goods, the safest option is to only pay the seller after you have inspected the goods in person. Similarly, do not pay a deposit or any partial payments before you have inspected an item.
- Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency. It’s extremely difficult for authorities to recover money sent this way.
- Beware of sellers or buyers who want to conclude a transaction as quickly as possible. Scammers want to get your money before you have time to think or have a professional examine the deal.
- Call the buyer or seller to establish phone contact. If the buyer or seller seems to neglect details agreed to via e-mail or is unable to answer questions about their location or the location of the vehicle in question, it is likely to be a scam.
- If the number in the ad is disconnected, be wary. If the buyer/seller says it is disconnected because they are overseas, ask for a landline phone number at their current location, as well as a mobile phone number.
- If they give you a street address, check online street imagery to view what is actually at that address.