Fraud Awareness Tips: Protect Yourself When Selling Online

One of the unfortunate downsides to online selling is the risk of someone trying to scam you. Online motorcycle scammers are relentless in their efforts to find online classifieds users’ phone numbers and e-mail addresses. They then use text and e-mail messages to lure unsuspecting sellers into various Internet scams.

Common Practices Scammers Use

  • They will probably start communication with the seller via text message or email. They’ll also claim to have some type of job that doesn’t allow them much phone accessibility (offshore oil-drilling, military, etc.). This should be an immediate red flag to the seller. Anyone who doesn’t want to speak to you in person or on the telephone is probably up to something shady.
  • They’ll tell you they prefer to give you the payment via PayPal and will then ask for your PayPal email address. They’ll then email you a fake PayPal confirmation email saying that their payment was transferred into your bank account. Although PayPal is a secure payment method, you should always call PayPal to confirm any transactions before you proceed, especially if you are suspicious that the buyer may be a scammer. It’s also important to not tell the scammer that you called PayPal, because they could then send you another fake PayPal email confirming that phone call.
  • They won’t try to negotiate on price, will often agree to pay more than the asking price, and won’t ask questions about the condition of the motorcycle for sale. This sounds too good to be true, and therefore should be another red flag to the seller. Many people shop online to get the best deal. This is especially true with motorcycles where the price is usually at least a little negotiable. The majority of buyers who are honest and truly interested in buying your motorcycle will at least try to negotiate the asking price.
  • The scammer may also ask you to wire them, or their agent, money for shipping. This is another huge red flag. You’re the one selling the motorcycle, therefore they should be giving you money and not the other way around. The buyer and seller are responsible for negotiating any shipping arrangements, but you should do your research on different shipping companies first. The company they claim they’ll be using could also be a fake company.

How Sellers Can Prevent Fraud

  • Do not respond to these scam text messages/emails. They’ll get the hint and move on.
  • If someone messages you, but you’re not sure if they’re a scammer or not, request that they speak to you on the telephone or in person. If they say they cannot for any reason, simply tell them that you’re sorry you cannot do business with them. You can also try to do a search for their name and phone number online to see if either comes up with any past fraudulent activity.
  • Do not give out your social security number, bank account, or other sensitive personal information to anyone. Someone who is interested in buying your motorcycle has no business knowing this information.
  • Always verify with the bank if someone gives you a certified check and wait until the payment transaction is 100% complete before giving the motorcycle and title over.
  • If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Go with your gut feeling about whether you think someone might be a scammer.
  • Consider using an escrow account to make sure that you are 100% safe when selling your motorcycle online. One escrow service you might consider is Escrow.com.

We also recommend that you visit the FBI’s Internet fraud page to learn about other common Internet scams. You can also file a report about an online scam you’ve found by visiting FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

We always invite you to contact us at 1-800-523-7274 if you are ever unsure about any text messages, phone calls, or online messages that you receive via ChopperExchange.

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