Be vigilant when buying cars or spare parts off Facebook or social media, there are many a**holes out to make a quick buck out of you.
The worldwide web and Social media has really made the automotive world smaller because now, more than ever, people can easily get connected and find so much information about cars just by using their fingertips.
For every Yang, there is a Yin and the Yin side effect of this amazing internet revolution is that scammers are starting to infiltrate what was once pure.
As an example, Facebook's marketplace is quite an attractive system because people can quickly and easily post ads of things they are selling or things that they are looking for. We know so many people who have found rare cars and amazing deals through Facebook's marketplace, but recently, more and more scams are being unravelled, and while some have been lucky enough to avoid it, some have been victims to this ugly side of Facebook.
The most common scam is the spare parts scam. Malaysians love their cars, and they would do anything to maintain and upgrade them. For that reason, many go to Facebook to look for good deals, and usually there are quite a few to be found. But in some cases where a scammer is operating in a car group, that car enthusiast would often not get the parts after paying for it. As you can see from the example down below, the scammer is a member of many car groups and is probably operating in all of them. The buyer has transferred the money but never received his purchase. The scammer would then usually disappear and ignore any sort of contact from the victim.
It used to be easy to detect scammers on the internet because the most apparent red flag would be the "too good to be true" pricing. These days however, scammers are starting to become more cunning and a lot more vigilance is needed to ensure that you do not fall into a scammer's trap.
A non-traditional method of scamming is when a vehicle seller falsely advertises the condition of the car. Yes, this is a scam too, and a scary one at that. While some would require you to part with your hard-earned cash to replace many things that are broken on the car, some scams are just outright deadly.
An example we have of this is when modified cars are advertised as normal cars. The stance car movement is a cool thing, but to get them to squat like that some modifications must be carried out. They usually alter many things on the car, including things that we cannot see through the naked eye. Now, if someone is completely honest about these modifications than that is fine, but when you are selling something and passing it off as something else, it could potentially end in disaster for the uninitiated. Check out this example down below. As you can see, the chassis is now compromised.
Fake parts are scams too, and this is all too familiar in Malaysia's automotive scene. It's just sad when people have to part with their money for an unreliable part that might cause an accident. The car might break down, but when that small but integral part causes a loss of life, it just brings heartache.
Luckily however there are many ways to avoid scams. The internet gives us easy access to information and within 10 minutes, you can probably find out the part specification and price. If these things don't tally up, avoid the part. Yes, some prices are better than others, but if it's too far away from the average price, then it probably is too good to be true.
For scammers that take your money without delivering the goods, it is also easy to find out whether the seller is legitimate. All you have to do is do a bit of investigation about the seller, and usually a telltale sign will appear to whether they are reliable. Rely on members of your FB groups when unsure. Odds are one or more of them have been scammed by the same person before hence they'll be able to warn you off said purchase.
The cliche 'if it's too good to be true, it probably is' holds a lot more water in online marketplaces. Its ease of access makes it a hotbed for scammers and conmen alike. Exercise vigilance, be smart and try as much as possible to opt for Cash on Delivery. That way at worst, you'll have only lost some time.