Tuesday, September 29, 2009

BEWARE: The Perfect Scam -- "Help" With Online Used Car Sales

They tried this on me once before, but beware of this scam as it sounds VERY helpful and legit.  It may or many not involve the up-front "hook" tactic:
  1. You post your used car for sale on a free (or not) online site and the phone rings (or an email with an address from a free public provider like Hotmail or Yahoo arrives) very soon after by a local 'buyer'.
  2. He/she is quite persistent, asks the right questions and tells you both that she/he wants to buy immediately, if not sooner, has the money ready and wants to know where you are located.
  3. BUT he/she is both is looking at similar cars AND has a private sale lead for an identical year/model at many thousands less than your price.
  4. After the initial friendly contact you never hear from this individual again.
  5. Very, VERY soon after this happens, you get a call from an 'unknown' or "1-866" number with a very sincere and legit sounding young salesperson ("Brad" from "Longwood Inc." -- perhaps "Largeballs Inc." would be more appropriate) offering to help you increase the chances of selling your vehicle with more exposure (the Internet is a mystery to 99% of people),
  6. And a GUARANTEE of selling your car...
  7. AT EXACTLY what you are asking.
  8. Soon, too!
  9. The catch?  You'll have to cut them a cheque/credit card payment for just $100 -- NOT a commission on the sale, a cash up-front payment that doesn't seem TOO onerous, given the sales price.
I told them to take off as there's no way I'm paying them IN ADVANCE of the sale happening.  The reality is this is a scam praying especially on people who are not Internet savvy (as many are who are using the net to post a car ad for the first time -- an infrequent thing to do).

Don't fall for it!  Even if they did do something to boost your hits with SEO (search engine optimization), you'll never be able to check it.  There is simply NO WAY they can deliver on the ridiculous promises they are making!
If it sounds too good to be true, it ALWAYS IS.
They're merely attempting to scam unwary sellers and take the money and run.  They are leveraging the anxiety you naturally have upfront, PLUS the disappointment they generate through the initial 'lost sale'. They get to you soon after you've posted, before the ad can start working and they ask an amount that seems low enough to be reasonable, but high enough to make you feel whatever they're going to do 'will be worth it'.  The sales person is likely taking a 50% commission and the scam company pockets the rest, counting on hundreds of new private sellers across the country to fall for it every week.

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