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Policy Guide

Stopping Fraud in Cars Sales

In becoming your trusted adviser when it comes to the life cycle of your vehicle, we want to make sure you are equipped with the knowledge needed to use our site safely for everything from negotiating to financing to leasing to resale, whether with a dealer or not. Combating Internet fraud is an ongoing process for all companies, and at CarsOnlime, we take seriously our role in the automotive marketplace as a trusted content provider.

While the vast majority of vehicle listings and inquiries to these listings on CarsOnlime are legitimate, we strive to make sure our customers are aware that there may be individuals who use CarsOnlime for illegitimate purposes. These individuals will post vehicle listings on CarsOnlime solely for scamming potential car buyers. In the same manner, they may contact our legitimate sellers and express an interest in purchasing vehicles for the purpose of scamming the seller.

We want to make sure our customers always exercise caution and common sense. Don’t be a victim; help protect yourself from fraud before the sale by learning more about how CarsOnlime operates and by taking the fraud awareness precautions outlined in our advice sections below. If an activity seems suspicious or a transaction seems unbelievably good, it probably is.

Advice for Buyers

Inspect the car, preferably in person:

  • Be wary of sellers who refuse to meet in person, face to face.
  • Use caution if the seller only wants to communicate via email or text message.
  • Be extremely wary if the seller refuses to or claims they cannot talk on the phone.
  • If possible, have a car mechanic join you and inspect the vehicle before you pay to complete a sale.
  • Exercise caution if the seller states the vehicle must be shipped or is currently not in their physical possession.

Avoid car listings that are too good to be true:

  • Ads for popular or recent sports cars and SUVs priced at half of what they’re worth are almost always lures used by scam artists. Beware of these suspicious listing.
  • If you are suspicious of any listings on CarsOnlime, please do not hesitate to contact the Fraud Prevention Department. We can be reached at support.cars@onlime.com
  • Exercise extreme caution before wiring deposits or payments directly to a dealers account if you are yet to meet with the dealer face to face or have someone as witness who attests to the fact.
  • The safest way to purchase a car is in person and in a public place.

Note that a current online fraud trend involves a fraudulent seller requesting payment via gift cards from popular stores or websites. If you encounter a seller who proposes payment through this method, please cut off all communication with the seller and reach out to support.cars@onlime.com

Advice for Sellers

Dealing locally is best:

  • The safest and recommended way to deal is in person, face to face.
  • Use caution if the buyer only wants to communicate via email or text message.
  • Avoid buyers who are currently out of the country or claim to reside overseas.
  • Be extremely wary if the buyer refuses to or claims he or she cannot talk on the phone.

 Avoid complicated payment schemes:

  • As the one selling, you are in control. Always state your preferred method of payment and be suspicious of a payment process that involves too many steps.
  • Exercise caution with payment processes that involve prepaid debit or gift cards.

Note that an online fraud trend involves the fraudster sending you a cashier’s cheque for more than the purchase amount of your car and asking you to send the difference back to them via wire, gift card or some other means. These cashier’s cheques are usually counterfeit and your bank will hold you liable for all losses incurred.

Verify payment:

  • Do not transfer the title of your car to the buyer until their payment has cleared or you have otherwise received full payment for your vehicle.
  • Never accept a cheque for more than your asking price.
  • You should always verify the authenticity of any cashier’s or certified cheque with the issuing bank.
  • Do not rely on the phone number printed on the cheque; look up the issuing bank’s phone number yourself if you plan to call. The bank can verify the account number and name on the account. The issuing bank will even verify if there are funds available to cover the designated amount.

 Phishing scams:

Always be wary of text messages or emails that include links. Fraudsters will often use these links to attempt to bring you to a fake version of the CarsOnlime site. The purpose of this is to obtain your login credentials in order to use your account to post fraudulent listings. If you receive any foreign email that includes links from our CarsOnlime Brand, we recommend taking the following precautions to avoid falling victim to them:

  • Check the “from” address to ensure that it is legitimate.
  • Hover over the links, but don’t click on them. When hovering over a link you will generally receive a small pop-up message that displays the URL the link will take you to. If this looks suspicious, do not click the link.
  • Analyse the greeting and grammar. If the email is vague (e.g., “Hello, Valued Customer”) or the grammar is poor, odds are higher that the email is illegitimate.

While the above auto fraud awareness steps should help bring some protection against phishing scams, there is no way to 100 percent guarantee an email’s legitimacy. Generally, the safest option is to ”not” click on any links and to go directly to cars.onlime.com within your web browser. If you ever have any hesitation or think something looks suspicious, please feel free to forward it to support.cars@onlime.com .

Other Helpful Information

Keep in mind that CarsOnlime does not own, buy or sell the vehicles listed on our site. We also do not get involved in transactions between buyers and sellers. Any correspondence you have regarding a particular vehicle occurs directly between you and the seller.

We will never ask you to provide personal or financial information via email. If you receive an unsolicited email that claims to be from CarsOnlime, reach out to us to verify it prior to taking any other action. This includes requests for information such as:

  • Username or password
  • Bank account information
  • Credit card information

Again, if you should ever have any questions or complaints about something that seems suspicious, please never hesitate to reach out to us at support.cars@onlime.com. We are here to help!