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Tag Archive | "fraud"

10 tips to safely sell a car online


(BPT) – Looking for a new set of wheels? Need to raise some cash for a home improvement project? Heading back to college?

Last year, a whopping 42.5 million used cars were sold in the United States, many by private owners. And 94 percent of those transactions involved an online search, according to leading online car website CarSoup.com.

While the Internet has made it easier than ever to buy a used car directly from a private party, buyers and sellers need to take precautions to ensure their safety and to prevent fraud.

The new e-book, “How to Safely Sell Your Car,” available on Amazon as well as through CarSoup.com, offers a number of specific tips on how to safely sell your car online, as well as suggestions on selling your car faster and for top dollar.

“Thousands of people safely sell their cars online every day, and you can too,” says Brian Bowman, chief technology officer of CarSoup.com. “Selling safely is the best way to make the most money and ensure a great sales experience for you and your buyer. The key is trust. The more trust you can build, the more satisfaction both parties will experience with the transaction.”

To sell your car safely and quickly online, Bowman offers these tips:

1. Go where the serious car buyers are. Avoid rummage-style websites and advertise your car on well-known, trusted websites that appeal to serious auto shoppers. For example, 54 percent of the active shoppers on a dedicated auto website like CarSoup.com buy a vehicle within 90 days.

2. VIN numbers reduce risk. Advertise your car with dedicated auto shopping websites that require a vehicle identification number (VIN). These websites help prevent fraud by matching the VIN numbers of cars advertised on their websites with public records to spot cars that have been reported stolen or cannot be legally sold.

3. Write an honest ad. The secret to preparing a great online ad, says Julie Spira, America’s cyber-dating expert, whose online advice is featured in the book, How to Safely Sell Your Car, is to clearly state what’s in it for the buyer and why you’re selling. Like online dating ads, Spira says, use lots of photos, add a heart-warming or funny story, and be honest to avoid surprises.

4. Ask lots of questions. Ask the buyer lots of questions, both by email and phone. Carefully listen to find out if your car will help fulfill their needs. Listen for evasive answers to questions about the buyer’s current driver’s license and auto insurance. Do a quick online search for the buyer’s name and location to check for any legal problems.

5. Don’t get too personal. When talking to a potential buyer, avoid revealing your address and other personal details. Don’t post photos of yourself with your car, or photos that show your home or valuable contents in your garage.

6. Get your paperwork ready. Have all of your paperwork (title, bank lien, driver’s license, car insurance, etc.) in order before meeting a buyer to finalize the sale. Tell the buyer to bring a current license and proof of auto insurance.

7. Meet in a public spot. Suggest meeting in a neutral public spot, during the daytime, to make you both feel safer. Invite a friend along and let the buyer know this ahead of time. If the buyer doesn’t have, or won’t let you review, their driver’s license and auto insurance card for the test drive, skip it. There will be plenty of other buyers, but there is only one you.

8. Remove personal items. When you clean your car for the test drive, clear out all valuables, including items in the trunk. Do not leave your wallet or smartphone in the vehicle.

9. State, up front, the test-drive route. Clearly state the test drive route and allotted time you have before getting into the car with the buyer. Sit in the backseat of the car to make the front of the car feel less crowded for the buyer during the test drive.

10. Complete the sale at the DMV. The sale of your car is not complete until you transfer the title of your car to the new owner, says Bowman. If a buyer takes possession of your car before the title is legally transferred, you will be held liable in the event that the buyer gets into an accident.

Posted in Auto Life, FeaturedComments Off on 10 tips to safely sell a car online

Fraudulent websites posing as green dot moneypak customer support


The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has received numerous complaints reporting fraudulent websites posing as MoneyPak customer support. MoneyPak is a non-reloadable, prepaid product offered by Green Dot.

Complaints indicate victims locate the websites via internet search engines. Interaction between the victims and the fraudulent customer support generally occurs via telephone. The IC3 has noticed different variations of this scam.

One: The victim is seeking a refund from an already purchased MoneyPak card and contacts the information listed on the website. A customer service “representative” will ask the caller to provide the identification number of the prepaid card.

For example:  The victim loaded funds onto a MoneyPak card and now wishes to receive a refund of those funds off of the prepaid card. The representative will ask for the prepaid card number and a credit card or checking account number to which the refund can be processed. At this point, the scammer has access to the funds on the prepaid card and the victim’s personal account.

Two: Victim seeks support in connection with loss from other possible scams. The representative will instruct the caller to reload the card with additional funds equal to the previously lost amount.

For example: The victim lost $500 from their MoneyPak card to a separate scam and is seeking a refund to the card. The representative will instruct the victim to load an additional $500 to the card. The representative states “reloading is the only way to process the refund,” and the card will be refunded the full $1,000. Should the victim refuse to reload the card, the representative will promptly disconnect the call.

In most complaints, victims are given a tracking or confirmation number in connection with their call and report to be placed on hold for a length of time while the representative claims to be researching the problem regarding the card in question. In all complaints, any funds available on the card are drained while the victim is on hold or immediately after the call is disconnected.

Consumer protection

Consumers should only use the website and phone number listed on the back of the MoneyPak prepaid cards. MoneyPak customer support can only be accessed by email request via the website’s online portal. The phone number listed on the back of MoneyPak cards is for adding funds to an existing prepaid card. Green Dot customer service publicizes a customer service number; however, this number will not provide assistance with MoneyPak.

Currently identified fraudulent websites are not secured websites (http).The MoneyPak customer support website is a secured website (https) and does not require personal (date of birth, social security number) to reload a card, add money to PayPal or make payments to authorized partners. Prepaid card information is needed to reload a prepaid card on the valid MoneyPak website. Visit https://www.moneypak.com/ for more information.

Filing a complaint

Individuals who believe they be a victim of a “MoneyPak Support” scam can file with the IC3 at http://www.ic3.gov. Please be as descriptive as possible, including prepaid card/account numbers affected and contact information of support “representatives.”

Because scams and fraudulent websites appear very quickly, individuals are encouraged to report possible internet scams and fraudulent websites by filing a complaint with the IC3 at http://www.ic3.gov.

Additional information from moneypak.1

Tips on how to protect yourself from fraud:2

  • Never give your MoneyPak number to someone you don’t know.
  • Never give receipt information about your MoneyPak purchase to another party.
  • Use your MoneyPak only to reload your prepaid cards or accounts you control.
  • Refuse any offer that asks you to buy a MoneyPak and share the number or receipt information by email or phone.
  • To use your MoneyPak with PayPal or eBay or other online merchants, transfer the money to your PayPal account before you pay the merchant. Don’t email your MoneyPak number directly to any merchant.
  • Unless it’s an approved MoneyPak partner, don’t use MoneyPak for any offer that requires you to pay before you get the item.

1. www.moneypak.com

2. www.moneypak.com/ProtectYourMoney.aspx 

Posted in BusinessComments Off on Fraudulent websites posing as green dot moneypak customer support

Avoiding air bag fraud

It’s a good idea to check any used car for properly functioning air bags.

It’s a good idea to check any used car for properly functioning air bags.

(NAPS)—The next time you’re thinking of buying a used car, remember, what you don’t see can hurt you.

We’re talking about air bags. Be sure they’re present and working properly.

As many as 250,000 counterfeit air bags may have been used to replace deployed ones, according to the federal government. But that’s not all.

Air bag fraud also can involve:

• Stuffing things in the air bag compartment (newspaper, packing peanuts)

• Air bags found in junkyards

• Stolen air bags

• No air bags at all.

What To Do

Start by simply turning the ignition. If the air bag indicator doesn’t come on at all or stays on, there may be a problem.

Also, check Carfax for reported accidents and air bag deployments, and get a mechanic’s inspection.

Learn More

For further facts and reports, visit www.carfax.com.


Posted in Auto Life, FeaturedComments Off on Avoiding air bag fraud

BBB New Year’s Resolutions for 2012

This week a security company’s computer was hacked and money stolen from many customer accounts.  It’s more important than ever to resolve to be a savvy internet user and wise consumer. Your Better Business Bureau offers the following New Year’s resolutions to become a safer and wiser consumer in 2012:

1.    Fight identity theft. Always shred paper documents that include sensitive financial data and dispose of computers, cell phones and digital data safely.  Don’t provide your social security number, credit card number, debit card pin, bank account information, or your driver’s license number to anyone on the phone unless you are certain they represent a legitimate business.  Don’t leave financial information in your mailbox that might be accessed by identity thieves.
2.    Keep criminals from stealing information on your computer and online.  Every password and every computer can be hacked with enough time and effort. Purchase virus software and keep it updated.  Don’t click through to links or websites you are unsure of.  The more difficult you make it for someone to get your password, the better.  Use at least 8 characters in your password, only do business online with reputable organizations on secure (https) websites.  Don’t use the same password on different important online accounts.
3.    Beware of job offers to make easy money. Scammers are targeting job hunters, so beware of offers, work-at-home schemes or business opportunities promising big money for little work and no experience.
4.    Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Many scammers request that you wire money back to them. Scammers know tracking money sent via MoneyGram or Western Union is extremely difficult. Even more troubling, it’s nearly impossible to get your money back.
5.    Fight fake check fraud. Educate yourself on the common types of check fraud and be wary of checks that come with claims you’ve won the lottery, are eligible for a government grant or have landed a job as a secret shopper.
6.    Get everything in writing. Don’t just take a business’ word for it. Get agreements in writing to limit miscommunication and misunderstandings between your expectations and what the business delivers.
7.    Look for the BBB seal and always check businesses out before buying. 400,000 businesses meet the BBB’s Standards for Trust and bear the BBB Accreditation Seal.   Your BBB doesn’t just report on Accredited Businesses, you can access BBB Business Reviews for nearly 4 million businesses by visiting www.bbb.org or calling (616)774-8230 or toll free (800)684-3222.
8.    Ask your BBB for help. File a complaint with your BBB if you have a disagreement with a business or been ripped off by a scammer.  The BBB will contact the business and ask for their explanation of the issue.  Often, the BBB can assist in reaching a resolution.

Posted in BusinessComments Off on BBB New Year’s Resolutions for 2012