The Fiji Embassy Tokyo [FET] warns consumers that criminal perpetrators may post fraudulent online classified advertisements offering vehicles for sale that are not, nor have ever been, in their possession.
The fake advertisements usually include photos matching the description of the vehicle and a phone number or email address to contact the supposed seller. Once contact is established, the criminal sends the intended buyer additional photos along with an explanation for the discounted price and the urgency of the transaction.
Once the transaction is completed, the criminal typically ignores a follow-up call, text messages, or emails from the buyer or may demand additional payments. In the end, the vehicle is not delivered, and the buyer can never recuperate their losses.
Tips for Avoiding Fraudulent Online Vehicle Sales:
- Collect information about used vehicle exporters with all details about their company, establishment, address, email, telephone, and others.
- Check the address on Google search, call on the landline phone numbers, and ask for a police verification certificate and registration. You can search the company on JETRO, JUMVEA, etc. All the information and establishment year of the company helps you judge the goodwill of the exporter.
- Contact the exporter and enquire about the purchase process and payment terms. Take a printout or save it. Carefully go through again. Clarify all doubts. If terms are clear, that is a sign that they are well experienced and honest.
- Check the stocks of the exporter for two-three days and note if stock is changing and new items are added. If yes, that means they are active in the business.
- Select a vehicle and check the details, including pictures from all angles, VIN, or inspection sheets. These certificates assure you what you will get through inspection of all used vehicles, both interior and exterior, and verifying the chassis number of the vehicle is done. Then the vehicles are stamped. Place an order for one unit in your first deal. If the deal is as you expected, then go-ahead for more.
- Do not be carried away by low-price offers that could be a trap from the frauds. Take ample time to check and make a decision always and compare an offer from different exporters.
- Ask for a reference buyer or importer in Fiji who already imports a car from the exporter. You can cross-verify from buyer/importer about dealing with an exporter.
- Avoid sellers who refuse to share their company`s registration details.
- Criminals take extra effort to disguise themselves and have recognizable words in their email names or domain. If you are suspicious or unsure about an email that claims to be from a legitimate business, locate the company online and contact them directly.
- Don’t give out your financial or personal information, such as credit card number or bank account information, until you verify that the online company you’re liaising with is legitimate.
Should you need any clarifications pertaining to the above, please feel free to contact Second Secretary, Mr. Ashneel Shankar on firstname.lastname@example.org