What are the most common signs of car scams?

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That car seller you want to patronize might be a scammer. Shine your eyes very well. Read up to know their tricks so you avoid car scams and don't fall prey to those fraudsters!

It is an open secret that scammers abound in Nigeria. In fact, they are everywhere. While some Nigerians are working hard to earn a living legitimately, the bad eggs among us do not want to lift a finger to do honest work. They just want to take advantage of other people, duping them of their hard earned money.

Unfortunately, scammers are making a kill in the car selling business. They are always outsmarting a good number of buyers. Well, they can only be successful with you if you give them the chance. They think they are smart? You can be smarter by being a step ahead of them. How? By knowing their written and unwritten tricks. At Naijauto.com, we are totally against scam, hence, we have listed here the most common signs of car scams to help our readers avoid them.

1. Incredible deals

Getting a car for the most affordable price is the dream of every buyer. If you could save some thousands of Naira on the purchase, you will have money left for other purchases. The moment you see a very good deal, you get excited and want to grab it before someone else will.

Corolla-car

Such a clean car runs into millions of naira

But wait for a moment.

The seller in question is not Father Christmas. Ordinarily, he would want to make some profit from selling his/her car. So, why did he/she put it on sale at a giveaway price? If it is too good to be true, it is most likely not true.

Scammers use incredible prices to easily lure victims. To avoid this, do a research to get the market price of the car in question. While every seller may not have the same exact price, the prices should be in the same range.

2. Making advance payments

Picture this: You want to buy an item, and without even seeing it, the seller asks you to make advance payment to enable them bring the item over to you for inspection. If this does not scream SCAM, I do not know what else does.

It is totally unacceptable to make advance payments for a car you have not seen. In fact, you should not make any payments until you and the seller have finalized all transactions. If the seller cannot bring the car to a mutually agreed location for you to inspect it, he/she should keep their car, it is not by force to buy.

Car-odometer

Meter numbers are tampered with to create false impressions

3. Urgency

Car scammers can be funny. How can you be pressurizing someone to buy something from you? Is it your money? They will give you some crazy story about how the car is high-in-demand, and everyone in their village is interested in buying it. If you do not make payments immediately, the car will not be available to you anymore.

The first thing they ought to know is that they are not the only ones selling cars in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, you can get the same car from a thousand and one other places. Do not make any commitments to buying a car unless you are fully convinced that the car meets your taste. If some other persons want to buy the car immediately, give them the go-ahead to sell it.

>>> You can refer to this man's story to know how scammers often act: How I fell into victim of a car scam in Nigeria

4. Tampering with odometer

Scammers go as far as tampering with a car’s odometer just to deceive unsuspecting victims. Ideally, 20,000 kilometers is the average mile a car does per year. So, a car that has been around for two years will have at least 40,000 kilometers. If you come across a car that has been driven for about six years, and the odometer shows 80,000 kilometers, it is a red flag.

Do not take the seller’s word for it. Some cars have indicators such as asterisks to let you know that the odometer has been tweaked. Feel free to ask for receipts on repairs and maintenance. The mileage recorded on those papers should align with what the odometer is saying.

Video: Nigeria Customs - Car Auction Scam

5. Watery car descriptions

A genuine seller would take his/her time to provide original and detailed information about the car they are trying to sell. Such sellers understand that buyers need to be well-informed in their buying decision. Scammers on the other hand do not have the time or patience. In a bid to dupe people as fast as possible, they simply do copy and paste or write one-line sentences.

To detect copy and paste car descriptions, just paste the details in Google search bar, and you will see it elsewhere. You should do this for every car description you come across, so you do not waste your time talking to fraudsters.

Car-interior

You need detailed information about various parts including the interior

6. Speak to the seller on phone

Nowadays, it is unwise to communicate with sellers only online. A lot of lies can be masked in text conversations. Get the seller’s phone number (it should be available on their profile). Call them and ask several questions about the car.

Pay attention to the tone and manner in which the seller answers. Although some scammers have a PhD in lying and can make you think they are genuine, you can smell a rat from interacting with others.  

>>> Should you be in love with more auto news, tips and tricks, navigate here!

Chris Odogwu

Chris Odogwu is a freelance Content Writer and Journalist. He holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from University of Jos and a master's degree in Mass Communication (Public Relations and Advertising major) from University of Lagos. His works have been published in top local and international publications including Forbes, HuffPost, ThriveGlobal, TheNextScoop and Nigeria360 among others. A member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), the thrill he gets from writing about exotic cars feels almost the same as riding in them.

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