Scammers are preying on used car buyers as demand surges for pre-owned vehicles amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a CBS report on Wednesday (Nov. 4).
As people socially distance and live largely from home, home delivery of everything has soared — including used cars — as people avoid brick-and-mortar dealerships and showrooms. But scam artists are capitalizing on this new way to buy a car, reports CBS Los Angeles.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has estimated that it will process over 450 complaints this year about used car scams, with victims losing in excess of $1 million.
Steve McFarland of the Better Business Bureau said one telltale sign of a scam is when the buyer is asked to pay in gift cards.
“If you paid via gift card or wire, it’s unlikely you’ll get your money back,” he said, adding that there has been a surge in used car scams over the course of the pandemic.
Other signs pointing to a scam include vehicle prices that are too low, the seller being in a rush or claiming to be leaving for the military, the seller asking for a wire transfer and the seller claiming there was a death and need to rush.
The scammers are hard to catch because they are often based abroad, according to authorities.
Another scam on the rise amid the pandemic is eSkimming. The new PYMNTS Tracker indicates that skimming is escalating, with 2,000 eCommerce sites compromised in September.