Fraudsters target online car sales. Online Car Shipping Scams….

There is a growing car shipping scam on the internet which has been targeting sellers of cars, boats, motorbikes and other single high value items, even horses!

Car Shipping Scam: The Hook

Fraudsters had copy aspects of a genuine site and advise potential victims that they would buy their vehicle and ship it via their approved shippers, pointing the victim to a so called shipping site which they had published themselves.

Once the seller had been “hooked” the fraudster then sends a cheque to the seller for the cost of the vehicle and, very kindly, includes in this payment the costs for shipping the vehicle overseas.

Car Shipping Scam: The Con.

For example say the car is being sold for £4000.00 and the shipping costs are £1000.00, you, the seller, get a cheque for £5000.00 which you duly bank. The bank may even advise you that the funds are in your account, cleared and safe.

Car Shipping Scam: The Sting.

 Within a few days you will be asked to send a portion of this money to the shipping agent in order to pay for the shipping (the shipping costs of £1000.00).  You are then requested to send this money by Western Union or Money gram to them. This transfer is untraceable and cashed immediately. Meanwhile your bank tells you, 10 days later, that the original cheque has bounced and promptly takes the money out of your account.

You have been conned for £ 1000.00 or dollars, yen, euros whatever, this scam is worldwide.



Latest Car Scam Warning:

Criminal gangs target car buyers through online car traders and auction sites. Beware of individuals or websites offering to sell you a car below market price. These scammers advertise great deals on car trading websites and will ask you to send money before they ship your car. They will tell you the car is with their shipping agent and point you to a website which claims to securely hold your cash while they ship the car to you. They will even direct you to, what looks like, a reputable car shipping website, or money escrow site, but one they have simply copied from the web and changed the contact numbers to their partners in crime.

Copying a website is a very simple cut and paste job and some of these criminal websites can look very, very convincing. However, they are simply copies of genuine websites with the contact details changed. Phone numbers listed are to untraceable mobiles and emails sent to you via bulk email accounts.

If an email comes simply from an email account or an internet service provider be very suspicious.


Genuine companies will email you through their website:

Example: [email protected] is good, [email protected] is a con. Always check your email headers by looking at the properties of the email sender. Tip: simply right click any email address, look at properties and you can usually see exactly where the email has really come from. You can also visit the website the email has come from. This is the bit after @. If that website is not an actual shipping company then the email has been designed to fool you. So, [email protected] is coming from a account. It is not coming from a car shipping company! This scam has also been the subject of a BBC investigation. You can see the news report on the BBC News:    See also IC3 warning on auction fraud here: Ignore it. Bin it. Delete it. Do not answer it.


Some tips and advice

•Be cautious of overly complicated transactions involving shipping agents, business partners, middle men and so on. If you see a cheap car for sale online, in another country and things start getting complicated. WALK AWAY.

• As with all online transactions please check the credentials of who are you are dealing with. If you have advertised your car for sale online and someone contacts you from overseas with ready cash and a plan for you to pay the shipping agent up front after he has paid you for the car. WALK AWAY.  If it sounds too good to be true, then it normally is.

• Please also be aware that anyone can just copy and paste a website, change a few contact details and they are in business. Always check out the website URL and CALL site owners. Watch out for telephone numbers without standard dial codes. These can be disposable mobiles designed to be thrown away if tracked.

•PLEASE. Do not send money to a complete stranger by Western Union.

•Trust your instincts. If you get a feeling something is wrong then ask around, ask a few friends what they think, if you have any doubts whatsoever then just bin that email and walk away.


•THIS ARTICLE IS COPYRIGHT FREE: Cut it, paste it and spread the word.