In today’s digital world, it is now easier than ever to make purchases online with the click of a button. While online shopping is often reliable, safe and convenient, it is also an opportunity for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers. The risk is present no matter what product you’re trying to purchase – and the wheelchair accessible vehicle industry is no exception. It is important to stay vigilant, especially when making a purchase as important as an accessible van. Here are a few tips to help you shop safely in the digital marketplace.
Know Who You Are Buying From
Platforms like Facebook Groups and Marketplace are great tools for people to sell gently used/unwanted products. Typically, you connect with a local seller or business to arrange the transaction. But how can you tell if the seller you’re speaking with is real or a scammer?
Scammers will often pose as an employee or claim they are authorized to sell vehicles on behalf of a business. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to visit the business’s official website or social media account before starting a conversation with an alleged “legitimate” seller. Typically, scammers will use photographs of inventory from dealership websites to create a false vehicle listing, when in fact they do not own the vehicle they are trying to sell you.
Pro Tip: Make sure you shop directly through our website or social media accounts before communicating with anyone who claims to be selling a MobilityWorks vehicle. If you have the vehicle VIN number, you can search it on our website to see if the vehicle is a current listing. If you see it is a vehicle we currently have for sale online through MobilityWorks, the person trying to sell to you does not own the vehicle and is likely a scammer. When in doubt, reach out to us directly at 877-275-4907 so our Certified Mobility Consultants can help you confirm if the listing you see is accurate.
Never Send Deposits/Payments Through Mysterious Links
A huge red flag for online shopping in any industry: you should never send a deposit or payment through a link someone sends you through email, text, or social media unless you are 100% sure you are working through a legitimate business or seller.
Unfortunately, in many cases the scammer will pressure their victims to make an immediate payment, without allowing you to see the vehicle in person first. If the person you’re speaking with becomes argumentative and demands a deposit before giving you any details or allowing you to see the vehicle, stop contact immediately and do not disclose any further personal information.
Pro Tip: Our MobilityWorks teams will never ask you to make payments through a link to third-party payment services like PayPal or Venmo. Payments should only be made directly through one of our store locations or our official website.
Report Fraudulent Social Media Accounts
You can help others avoid falling for scammers on social media platforms like Facebook Marketplace by reporting the seller. Here’s how to report a seller, according to Facebook:
Pro Tip: If you suspect someone may be trying to sell vehicles on behalf of MobilityWorks through a fraudulent account, report the seller and let us know through Facebook Messenger so we can take the necessary steps to help get the account taken down. This prevents others from falling for the same scammer.
What to Do if You Suspect You’ve Been Scammed
If you already sent money to someone you think is a scammer or disclosed personal information that you think may be used for fraudulent activity, below are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission on steps you can take to reverse the damage:
Pro Tip: You can also report scams to the FTC using their fraud reporting tool online. The FTC will use the information to build a case against the scammer, especially if multiple people report the same instance of fraud.
When done safely, online shopping is a great way to research what type of vehicle you think may work for you. With scammers becoming more and more convincing, however, it is important to be cautious, especially when it comes to your personal information. When you’re ready to purchase, reach out to our team so our Certified Mobility Consultants can ensure that you’re buying a vehicle that is the best fit for your needs and lifestyle.
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