7On your side: Buying & selling vehicles online - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7 On Your Side: Buying and selling vehicles online

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Being able to go online simplifies a lot of things in life ... and gives you access to buyers and sellers all over the web. But if you're buying or selling a vehicle -- there are certain red flags to watch out for to keep you from becoming a victim.

Derrick Young of Ragley decided to use Craigslist to try to sell a little truck he uses for hunting. He thought he had a buyer, but as the deal became more convoluted, he became  suspicious. 

"Supposedly this gentleman lived out of state and was working off shore and he didn't have a credit card on him to be able to pay the shipper, so that's why he was going to pay me $700 over the cost of the vehicle, so that I would pay for it and he would reimburse me once the money went into my account. He wanted me to pay the shipper first before the money would be deposited into the pay account. So really, I would have to pay to be selling something," said Young.

The caller Young was dealing with was very persuasive and convincing, but to wire $700 through Western Union just didn't sound right.

"(They were)contacting me every day, seemed like on the hour, every hour. Supposedly the only way he could get in touch with me was through an offshore operator which that costs money. When he did contact me, I told him, I'm not going through this unless I talk with you.  And evidently he was a foreigner. I couldn't hardly understand him," said Young.

Plus, some of the language in the emails suggested they were from someone who didn't speak English too well. For instance one of the emails "guaranteed" the transaction was "Real and Legal." 

"It didn't set right with me or seem like something that was, I just had a gut feeling about it.  I was like, this is a scam," said Young.

Derrick was selling a vehicle, though many others use online classified ads to try to buy a vehicle. The Better Business Bureau says if they offer to sell a vehicle for way less than the blue book value, it's very likely a scam.

Warns BBB President Carmen Million, "If they're selling a vehicle for $1,500 and the blue book value is $8,000 you know something's wrong. If they don't give you information of where you can actually look at the vehicle, that's a warning sign. If they ask you to wire money that's another warning sign."

To hear more from Carmen Million on avoiding scams when buying or selling a vehicle online, look for the 7 On Your Side web extra.

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