The age of the digital marketplace brings with it almost infinite possibilities to the business world – better exchange of information, faster business transactions and greater transparency across the board. On the flip side, the ever present risk of online scams and fraudulent schemes in the digital age threaten everything from our credit card transactions to the cars we buy.
Take for instance an ad that a scammer tried to submit to our site (but was removed as soon as we were alerted of it) – which featured a Honda S2000 Roadster advertised for entirely-too-good-be-true RM48k.
Better informed, car enthusiast types will immediately spot the red flags mostly because S2000s command a cult-like following the world over. Lauded in its time for having scalpel sharp handling, good dynamic balance and one of the most powerful series-produced 2.0-litre engines of all time – the insatiable demand for S2000s today, mean prices are getting higher constantly.
However, here are some general indicators that suggest the ad is a scam, out to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers.
The clearest indicator is the price tag, it’s simply too low. Although prices can vary given performance cars usually change hands on a willing buyer-willing seller basis – it’s unlikely to have an upwards of 65 percent price difference when compared to other ads. This is also true when compared to another car which is advertised on the same page. Do research prevailing market rates first before you start your next car search.
The seller even goes on to say the car was originally registered and or sold in Kuching, which explains very little regarding the price or authenticity on the car, instead, further adds to the discrepancy of the ad itself. Cars from East Malaysia are not necessarily cheaper on the used market, on the contrary – logistics charges typically mean the car can be more expensive than units sold in West Malaysia, and vice versa.
Upon further inquiry, the seller actually requests for a deposit to be made before a viewing appointment is scheduled. This is clearly a red flag that the seller is a scammer. Time to walk away.
Here we'd like to stress, NEVER pay any funds to view or book a car regardless of how rare or expensive it is. Carefully inspect the car's registration and history, followed by a thorough check of the car as well.
A typical script of a scammer goes more or less like this:
Of course, scammers can be rather creative with their tall tales. The general rule of thumb remains. Never pay anything to the seller until you have checked the vehicle registration documents and inspected the vehicle yourself.
For more handy tips on protecting yourself against scammers, check out the above episode of the Torque Show by our friends at AutoBuzz.my, featuring our very own Editor, Kon.