Recognizing classified ad scams on the motorcycle classifieds
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We used to provide free classified ads for motorcycles but after deleting a lot of fraudulent ads which don’t exist, we decided to charge a small fee to create a financial trail to try to make it safer for buyers and better for sellers. It was a great idea because just after charging a fee, PayPal notified us within hours that someone paid for a fraudulent ad and we immediately refunded the charge and deleted the classified ad. Motorcycle dealers wanting to place multiple ads can contact us to get verified to place free classified ads.
No one can and we do not and cannot guarantee that any classified ad on US Motorcycle Classifieds™ is not a scam. You must exercise caution when answering any ad and learn how to recognize potential scams. We try to block access to foreign countries but some still get through and some scammers are right here in the US. While we provide you with the information below to help you intelligently review any classified ad and conduct transactions, this information cannot possibly include all types of scams and we do not provide any guarantee that you will be dealing with a legitimate person or transaction. However, the information below will help you to become knowledgeable about potential scams.
The following characteristics almost guarantee that the person contacting you is trying to scam you:
- A seller who says he is traveling or on business or for any reason temporarily in the UK, Canada or anywhere other than his house where you can see the motorcycle (they will often claim to have someone here to show you the motorcycle or conduct the transaction). To start with, ads which raise suspicion with me do not have a US telephone number and only have an unusual email like joe.lastname.rr.hotmail.com.
- Descriptions in an ad (or a response to your ad) which sound like a foreigner such as “this bike is presently in a very wonderful condition and has been fairly used for just a few months”.
- A seller who asks you to send money in any form other than in person, such as by mail, wire, Western Union, Money Gram, PayPal, credit card, etc.
- A buyer who wants to send the money to you instead of giving you cash in person or an inability to meet face-to-face before consummating the transaction.
- A buyer who sends someone else to pick up your motorcycle.
- An offer to pay by Western Union, Money Gram, bank check, cashier’s check, money order, certified check, escrow service, or offers a guarantee that a payment is good. While most online escrow sites are fraudulent and operated by scammers, we recommend that you do not use even a legitimate escrow service.
- An offer to buy your motorcycle without personally inspecting your motorcycle.
- Someone who asks you for any bank information, financial information, date of birth, Social Security number or other similar information.
- Inquiries from someone in another country should always be considered to be a scam (they will often claim to have a friend here to conduct the transaction).
- Requests to ship your motorcycle anywhere or to ship a motorcycle to you.
- If the price seems cheap, it’s probably a scam!
See examples of frequent classified ad scams and tips below
What about someone who personally looks at your motorcycle and offers to give you a check, certified check, bank check, or other payment other than cash? You should always be suspicious of any payment other than cash and should closely inspect any cash to avoid accepting counterfeit money.
The problem with bank checks
Treat all certified checks, bank checks and similar payments as fraudulent. They may look real and fraudulent certified and bank checks will be accepted by your bank for deposit but your bank will want the money back a couple of months later. Any type of bank check, cashier’s check, money order and other substitutes for cash are easily counterfeited on any computer with a printer. The problem is that most people, even bank employees, do not understand that when you deposit a check in your bank account and your bank tells you that your check cleared, they are only telling you that the time period to hold the funds for the deposited check has expired and the bank will now LOAN you the money. Federal law allows your bank 12 months to recoup losses due to a fraudulent check. IF YOUR BANK TELLS YOU THAT A CHECK HAS CLEARED, IT IS NOT SAFE TO ASSUME THAT THE CHECK WAS GOOD!
Tips to remember
- DEAL LOCALLY WITH PEOPLE YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON – follow this one rule and avoid most scam attempts! Only take cash and avoid more scams!
- NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service – anyone who asks you to do so is a guaranteed scammer!
- NEVER SEND A PAYMENT USING PAYPAL OR ANY OTHER ONLINE PAYMENT SERVICE.
- FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON. BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND LATER HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake check is discovered weeks or months later.
- REAL CASHIER CHECKS, CERTIFIED CHECKS, BANK CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS have been altered to change an amount such as $2.00 to $2,500.00. If you decide to accept any type of bank check, make sure you call the bank and verify not only that the check is valid but also the amount of the check.
- NEVER ACCEPT PAYMENT OTHER THAN CASH, WHICH YOU KNOW NOT TO BE COUNTERFEIT, AND WHICH IS PAID IN PERSON.
- USMotorcycleClassifieds.com IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer “buyer protection” or “seller certification”.
- NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, date of birth, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.).
- AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES.
- ONLY A SCAMMER WILL “GUARANTEE” YOUR TRANSACTION.
- READ Tips to Avoid Title Problems When Buying a Motorcycle
Actual classified ad scams which were submitted at US Motorcycle Classifieds and deleted as a probable scam:
1) An ad stated that someone wanted to buy a motorcycle for her boyfriend. The person wrote that she would send a certified check and send someone to pick up the motorcycle a few days later so there would be time for the check to clear. (A frequent classified ad scam is where someone contacts you stating that he or she wants to buy your motorcycle and provides ANY reason to send you a certified, bank check, pay by Paypal or any other method without coming to look at your motorcycle in person.)
2) Subject line of the ad: 1997 Harley Davidson Road King
Ad: “this bike is presently in a very wonderful condition and has been fairly used for just a few months
We are presently accepting PAYPAL
our asking price is $4500
home delivery accepted”
(A frequent classified ad scam is where someone contacts you stating that he or she wants to sell a motorcycle and offers to accept payment and provide delivery. You should always personally inspect the motorcycle and transport it home yourself. Of course, you need to be careful to make sure you are not purchasing a stolen motorcycle or a motorcycle with a bad title. READ: Tips to Avoid Title Problems When Buying a Motorcycle)
Every classified ad at US Motorcycle Classifieds is reviewed and deleted if it looks like it could be a scam. However, no one can and we do not and cannot guarantee that any ad on US Motorcycle Classifieds is not a scam and you must exercise caution when answering any ad.
Now that you understand how to protect yourself from classified ad scams, please place your almost free classified ad at US Motorcycle Classifieds
Philip L. Franckel, Esq. President