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In the world of automobiles, fraud is part of the landscape. By their very nature, machines that move under their own power, with parts that can be changed, will invite unscrupulous persons to move them and alter them for their personal gain. car fraud will probably confront a buyer at one time or another, but a few tips and a little common sense can identify a legitimate deal from a crime and help you avoid car fraud.
Learning how to avoid car fraud begins with education. The more general knowledge of how cars work, how they should work, and what you should expect will build the foundation of what to expect when examining a new acquisition for the garage. You should also learn the specifics for the particular car you want. Cars of every manufacturer have certain strengths and weaknesses. Knowing a particular model’s quirks will help you identify what should be there. Being savvy about how to avoid car fraud means finding what should be there on a car, buying what you are paying for, and making a good deal. Car fraud happens when a seller intentionally misrepresents a vehicle, which is easy to do and now always done on purpose.
The Internet has been a boon for car fraud. Post a few pictures, paste some copy, set a price and an email address, and suddenly an ad appears for a car that never existed. The scammer will happily ship the car for a small deposit. The first step to of how avoid car fraud is to verify the car is real. This sounds simple, but people can get carried away by the lure of a good deal. The best way to verify a car is real to contact the seller by telephone.
A quick call will reveal the legitimacy of the sale. If the voice on the other end of the line sounds sober, if the seller can repeat the information in the add and answer some simple questions, (ask how long the seller has owned the vehicle and if it has all the paperwork) you will get a sense if you are dealing with someone who wants to sell a car or someone looking to make a score. If the seller has just brought the car in from another state, just inherited from a grandparent, if the car needs to pass a smog or safety inspection, if the seller is working on behalf of friend, or if the car has no current title, you may be looking at car fraud. Hard luck stories that come with a bargain price can also signal some kind of fraud. Your research will help here. You should know how much the car you want costs.
However, let’s say the seller sounds like a fellow good person trying to sell a car at a fair price. A legitimate seller will schedule a meeting on your (the buyer’s) terms, and you will avoid car fraud by doing business in locations without bad reputations and in the light of day. Car fraud happens when a buyer is at a disadvantage. If a seller places a banged-up junker under a dim street light, in an alley, with drizzle falling, and uses the conditions to mask the car’s flaws, he will. Seeing the car on a flat surface on a sunny day will let you see what you are buying. A legitimate seller should have no objections to the ideal conditions. The seller should also be able to produce a current title to the car.
A history of legal title is key in how to avoid fraud. The title should have a matching description and a matching VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to the car in question. It should have the seller’s name and address. Checking the condition of the VIN tag on the car is also important. Located at the base of the windshield in front of the driver, the VIN should look undisturbed, as if no one has chiseled at it with a screw driver or reset it with glue. The VIN on the dash should also match the VIN on the door sticker and the sticker on the trunk lid. However, even if the title is legitimate, have a good look at the car and attempt to learn its history. A CARFAX report is good, but it can only show what has been entered into its system. A car with a salvage one state can be transported to another state, repaired and then issued a new title without the salvage brand. Insurance companies involved with paying claims for damaged cars and reselling them at auction have no legal obligation to place that action in the CARFAX database. A car with a large gap in its ownership records may have had its title “washed” before it re-entered the system. While the current title may be legitimate, at one time, the vehicle may have been branded with a salvage title. Here again, a trained eye will help, but a trained mechanic may be necessary. If a car has been moved through enough states, there may be no way of knowing its true history. You will only have its present condition to make your determination. If any doubts appear, walk away from the deal.
Also, in some deals, the buyer may never see the title. If the car is being financed by a dealer who may be less than reputable, the title will go to the lien holder, and the buyer may never know if his purchase had a legitimate title in the first place. Always insist on seeing the title before handing over any money.
By the nature of the marketplace, car fraud happens. Expecting it and preparing for it guards the buyer, but any used car purchase has risk. The best way to avoid car fraud comes with the purchase of a new vehicle from a legitimate dealer. Such a purchase commands top dollar, but you will learn how to avoid fraud when buying a car.
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