Protect yourself when buying cars online
Today we helped Crimestoppers launch their new campaign that aims to help Irish consumers stay safe when buying and selling their car online.
We worked with Crimestoppers and An Garda Síochána to give consumers practical advice to follow when they’re buying or selling cars and commercial vehicles online.
While the vast majority of transactions occur with no issue, a very small percentage of online frauds do occur. In 2015 over 300 million searches were carried out on Irish car websites by people interested in buying a car.
Top tips for people considering buying or selling a car or commercial vehicle online are:
- Do your homework – if the price of the car or vehicle is way below its current value, the “bargain” may indeed be too good to be true.
- If you’re contacted by a company promising to buy your car or claiming to have buyers ready and waiting, beware. These are usually scams – some even use an official website’s name to appear legitimate.
- Face-to-face contact with the person you are buying from or selling to can reduce the likelihood of you transacting will someone involved in illegal activity.
- Is the seller the same person named in the vehicle registration certificate? If not, why not? Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of address, identification.
- When carrying out a transaction, make sure you meet people in a public area, preferably somewhere that has CCTV cameras.
- If someone wishes to pay by bank draft, meet them at the bank so that you can verify its authenticity before handing over the item for sale.
- Make sure you get to meet the person selling or buying the item themselves, and not a person acting on their behalf. Take their photo if possible.
- If you have a concern about the bona fides of a buyer or seller, do not go through with the transaction.
- If you suspect that a buyer or seller is engaging in illegal activity, call your local Garda station.