Two more people have fallen victim to online car sale scams, prompting the police to issue a new warning to would-be buyers.
Both incidents occurred at the weekend.
In one of the incidents, a would-be buyer was relieved of $14,000 in Castries, and in the other, a man who went to a meeting in the north of the Island to buy a vehicle encountered some armed thugs who assaulted him and took his cash.
Police Inspector Shervon Matthieu of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) issued the following advice:
Purchasing a vehicle from an unknown online seller can be risky, as it can expose you to the possibility of fraud or other crimes. To reduce the risks involved in such a transaction, here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
Verify the seller’s identity and credentials: Before proceeding with any transaction, make sure that you know who you’re dealing with. Ask the seller for their name, address, and phone number, and verify that the information is accurate. Also, ask for their driver’s license and registration to confirm their identity.
Conduct a background check: Use online search engines or social media to learn more about the seller’s background, reputation, and history.
Inspect the vehicle thoroughly: If possible, inspect the vehicle in person before buying it. Check for any signs of damage, wear and tear, or other defects. You can also ask for a vehicle history report to see if the car has been in any accidents or has any outstanding liens.
Use a safe payment method: Avoid sending cash or wire transfers to unknown sellers. Instead, use a secure payment method like PayPal or a credit card, which offer protection against fraud and can help you recover your money if something goes wrong.
Meet in a public place: If you decide to meet the seller in person, choose a public place like a coffee shop or a mall. Don’t go alone and let someone know where you’re going and who you’re meeting.
Trust your instincts: If something feels off or too good to be true, it probably is. If you have any doubts or concerns about the seller or the transaction, trust your instincts and walk away.
Headline photo: Inspector Shervon Matthieu