Please do not make any payment transactions to purchase a vehicle before ensuring it is from a trusted source.
Many people have fallen victim to second-hand car scams by fraudsters falsely portraying themselves as legitimate car dealers – particularly on Facebook’s Marketplace platform. Sadly, it’s extremely difficult to track these criminals and the unfortunate victims never recover their money.
Avoid being taken for a ride by unscrupulous car sellers and don’t fall victim to internet scams when looking to buy a car. Use this information to safeguard yourself and help you make an informed decision before you buy.
How you are scammed
There are a variety of ways that fraudsters operate, and one of the most popular platforms is Facebook Marketplace. Scammers either pose as private sellers or auto dealers. This is how a fake car dealer offer generally plays out:
The fraudster creates pages of a fake dealership that look legitimate by stealing the dealership’s name and logo. These pages are not around for long, and the so-called dealership’s website doesn’t exist.
A fake advert shows up for a vehicle that looks like a really good deal. The car looks immaculate and the price too good to be true.
You show interest and are prompted to make a deposit in order to: a). Secure the vehicle, and b). Indicate that you’re serious about the purchase.
If you have been scammed on Facebook Marketplace, this is Facebook’s advice:
“…you can report the seller to us in Marketplace. To do that, visit the seller's profile, which can be found at the bottom of the product profile. Tap on the “Seller Info” section, and there you'll find a “Report” button. Facebook will review the case.”
However, in many cases, the fraudster deletes their account before anyone notices they have been scammed, or anything can be done about it.
How to spot a scam
Finding a good car deal these days also means you need to be able to tell whether you’re dealing with a legitimate car dealer. Before going any further and wasting your time, first look for these suspicious signs:
Images are of a good-looking car with unbelievably good prices. These images are generally stolen from the real dealership’s pages or website.
The ‘seller’ asks for payment before you even get to see or test drive the car. In this case, you should leave the conversation immediately.
The ‘seller’ won’t meet you in person to show you the car.
The ‘seller’s’ Facebook personal profile looks suspiciously empty. This is a good sign that it is a fake account.
The website address provided is fake. If the website address does exist, verify the vehicle on the website – if it isn’t there, it might be a fake deal.
The ‘seller’ asks for payment via PayPal or similar where payments cannot be reversed.
Ways to Check that You’re Dealing with Auto Pedigree
While it may be easy to fall victim of fraud, it’s just as easy to prevent yourself from being swindled of your hard-earned money. There are many fake deals on Facebook Marketplace misrepresented as Auto Pedigree. Please be vigilant, check the details and follow these rules:
Always ensure that the website address is https://www.autopedigree.co.za/ – anything after the ‘www’ must only read ‘autopedigree.co.za’ and not anything else such as ‘autopedigreemotors.co.za’ or ‘auto-pedigree.co.za’, etc.
Auto Pedigree has one customer call centre contact number: 010 593 9505. We do not use private cell phone numbers.