The request for a deposit or upfront payment should signal a possible fraudulent deal.
The request for a deposit or upfront payment should signal a possible fraudulent deal.

Saps alarmed over number of prospective car buyers falling victim to social media fraud

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Nov 25, 2021

Share this article:

CAPE TOWN - An analysis of registered crime has revealed a new trend of fraud where prospective buyers of used vehicles, mostly in the cheaper price range advertised on social media platforms, are being targeted, police in the Western Cape say.

Spokesperson Andrè Traut said vehicles were advertised by criminals at seemingly bargain prices on social media platforms to lure their victims into the scam.

“Once the interested buyer established contact with the seller, he or she is made to believe that the vehicle generated huge interest and that a deposit is required to secure the deal or to reserve the vehicle. Once payment is made into a fraudulent bank account, the seller will become unreachable.”

Although the SAPS said it does not discourage the use of social media platforms to do business, it wanted to warn the public to treat online advertisements with caution and to verify the legitimacy of the vehicle or goods matter being advertised, before any funds were paid.

Tips to avoid becoming a victim of a fraudulent of fictitious transaction:

· Request the seller to take the advertised vehicle for a police clearance certificate before you negotiate the deal.

· The request for a deposit or upfront payment should signal a possible fraudulent deal.

· The reluctance of the seller to provide more contact details as the one being advertised could also be a sign that the seller has something to hide.

· Insist to see the vehicle personally at a safe meeting place.

“If you suspect that you are dealing with a scammer, please notify your local police and refrain from any further contact with the advertiser,” Traut said.

Cape Times

Share this article: