The Motorcycle Report Scam
Vehicle history reports give people insight to your motorcycle’s past. They are common in the world of buying and selling motorcycles. Potential buyers may want to confirm the motorcycle’s number of owners or see if it has been in any accidents.
Legitimate buyers may ask for one at some point in the selling process. There are safe ways to handle this. However, this seemingly innocent request can turn out to be a scam.
Continue on for a look into the motorcycle report scam.
An apparently interested buyer will reach out to you expressing interest in your motorcycle. They may play it cool and be patient. This person may ask several quality questions to help you feel more comfortable before they make their attempt.
Eventually, they will pounce. The buyer will ask if you have generated a report from a certain website. Some domains may end in “.vin”. This was originally intended for use with websites relating to wine, since “vin” is the French word for wine. Other groups have successfully applied for the domain since its introduction.
No matter the exact domain, scammers will insist on a specific website. It is common for them to act as if the suggested website is a mainstay in the auto industry. If you say you are not familiar with the site, they go into sales pitch mode. They are excited to explain why they think it is the best report generator on the market.
When you tell the buyer that you are not comfortable with purchasing a report through the given website, they become defensive. They will make excuses as to why only their website works. They will not accept any suggested alternative. Some sellers eventually get tired of arguing back and forth, so they buy and send the report. This is the scammers’ main goal. It’s a scam. Do not do it.
If you’re wondering what the scam is and what to do from here, that’s next.
Some people who grow tired of the back-and-forth or are unaware of the scam will purchase the report. All they need you to do is enter your personal information and they’re home free. They will proceed to have an excuse as to why they’re no longer interested in your motorcycle, if you hear from them at all. It won’t be long until they become unreachable.
At best, it will cost you the fee of the report. We’ve heard these usually fall in around $40, but may vary. This is rightfully frustrating, but it may not be your only loss.
Since you have no way of knowing who runs the site, they may act as lead generators. Once lead generators gather your information, they sell it to third parties for marketing and advertising purposes.
In the worst-case scenario, you may put your financial information and identity at risk. The website may be designed to steal your credit card information. If you provide enough information, they may also be able to steal your identity.
How to Proceed
The simplest answer is to play it safe. If you haven’t heard of the website being suggested to you or something about it seems off, trust your gut.
The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) operates a website that lists approved providers of motorcycle history reports. If you are ever in any doubt, check here first.
If a potential buyer is pushing a particular report site but you sense they may not be legitimate, you have a couple of alternative solutions.
Ask the buyer to pay for the report. You may even offer to subtract the fee from the final purchase price. Most likely, the buyer will say they have already purchased a few in the past for deals that fell through and say no.
You may then offer to split the price of a report from an NMVTIS approved website, if you feel so inclined. If it’s a scammer, they will decline the offer and argue that their preferred site is the only one that matters. Feel free to end the conversation completely at this point.
If you have previously purchased one of these reports from a suspected scam site, contact your financial institution to cancel the card used in the transaction.
When buying or selling a motorcycle, it’s extremely important to be safe every step of the way. It may feel tedious, but scrutinize every aspect of the interactions you have with possible sales partners. Is this necessary at this moment? Can this put me at any sort of risk?
Trust your instincts. Research your situation if you feel unsure about its legitimacy. If you are still on the fence and have questions about communication on a ChopperExchange listing, we are here to help.
Has anyone attempted to scam you via motorcycle report before? Feel free to share your story below to spread awareness and help other sellers.