Dependable Auto Shippers Shares Tips to Avoid Online Auto Fraud in Recognition of National Consumer Protection Week
Online shoppers should follow these five tips for protection and peace-of-mind
February 28, 2013
(DALLAS) Feb. 28, 2013 – In recognition of National Consumer Protection Week March 3 - March 9, Dependable Auto Shippers (DAS), one of the largest privately owned vehicle relocation services in the U.S. since 1954, has prepared five tips for consumers to help protect them from online auto fraud.
“Shipping vehicles for online consumers is a large portion of our business, and we receive approximately 400 calls every month from consumers who have fallen prey to an online auto scam,” said John Roehll, executive vice president and co-owner of DAS. “As industry leaders, we want to raise awareness to protect those consumers. By providing these tips to educate the public, we hope consumers will have peace-of-mind when shopping online and cases of online auto fraud will significantly decrease in 2013.”
Since DAS cannot provide much recourse for a victim of online auto fraud once money has exchanged hands, it has released the following five tips to help consumers shop smarter and safer in hopes of preventing fraud altogether:
- Never wire money – Legitimate car dealers will never require a wire transfer or Western Union of funds, even if just for the down payment.
- Make the call – Pick up the phone and call the auto dealer or seller to get some information on their background and history. Anyone can build a legitimate looking website, but if the seller makes excuses for not being able to speak with you personally, that is a good indicator of a possible scam. Stories of Serviceman having to part and make a quick sale or divorcees selling their ex-spouse’s vehicles are also red flags.
- Make your own CARFAX – While a consumer should always ask for a CARFAX report, some scammers will actually pull real reports for their fake car. To best protect yourself, do your own background check on the vehicle to ensure everything matches up correctly with the CARFAX. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) maintains a free database that includes flood damage and other information so you can investigate a car's history by its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Also, always check that the registration or license plate matches the seller’s name.
- Validate the details – If the seller says the vehicle in question is currently being held by a vehicle relocation company and will be shipped once payment is made, call the vehicle relocation company to validate the arrangement. Also, do an online search of the vehicle relocation company – never trust only the website or the number you are given.
- Examine the photo and other descriptive information – If the seller is sharing only a stock image of the vehicle rather than an actual photo of car with license plate visible, this is a good indication the real car doesn’t exist. Also, pay attention to the details. Does the seller say the car has grey leather interior and in the photo it looks beige? You can even go as far as giving the seller a specific location to photograph the car. For example, find a restaurant in their area and ask them to photograph the car with license plate visible in front of that restaurant.
According to a 2011 National Fraud Victim Study by the AARP Foundation, consumer fraud victims are less likely to take preventive actions to protect themselves from fraud, such as signing up for the Do Not Call List or not checking references for businesses before hiring them. As DAS has outlined, doing your homework can go a long way.
Founded in 1954, Dallas-based Dependable Auto Shippers (DAS) is one of the largest vehicle shipping service providers in the world. With more than 90 certified partner facilities, DAS safely and efficiently transports more than 100,000 vehicles each year. DAS ships everything from cars and motorcycles to vans and specialty vehicles via a variety of proven auto shipping methods. DAS provides vehicle transport services to customers anywhere across the country and around the world, including individuals, corporations and anyone that has the need to ship a vehicle. For more information about shipping with DAS, visit www.dasautoshippers.com.