‘They’ve done it to us’: Mechanic says don’t fall for this new car-buying scam online – The Daily Dot

3 minutes, 28 seconds Read

Buyer, beware: this online car-buying scam could have you handing over thousands of dollars and your identity to scammers.

This auto shop (@royaltyautoservice) has gone viral on TikTok multiple times for sharing important information with current and future car owners, from revealing how not to pump your gas and the biggest auto repair scams to suggesting the best used car to buy under $10,000.

Now, they’re here to warn you about a car-buying scam that’s costing people their savings plus their sensitive personal information.

In the video, the mechanic explains that people will visit a local car lot’s website and contact them after seeing that the website or Facebook page looks legit and has a real picture and contact information.

In our digital era, buying everything online, even a car, is common. There are legitimate companies (with mixed reviews) that sell cars online, like Carvana and Vroom. But in this case, people later find out they were dealing with a fake dealership the whole time.

“You don’t even have to go to the car lot. Everything. It seems like it’s all great, which is a normal thing nowadays. Normal thing for people to just buy everything online, right?” the mechanic says.

The dealer will give you a good deal and then make you fill out a credit application where you give them all your sensitive information, from your address to your social security number.

The scammers then tell you how much you’re “approved for” and how much you have to put down—usually several thousand dollars. They’ll deliver the car tomorrow after the deposit hits, they promise.

But tomorrow comes, and no car arrives. You call the number back, and it’s either disconnected or they have no clue who or what you’re talking about.

“So now they’ve got your money, they’ve got all your information. Who knows what they’re gonna do with that?” the mechanic points out.

Turns out the scammers used the information from a real dealership to pull off the hoax. Not only is the dealership confused, but people end up leaving bad reviews for them for something they were also victims of.

According to the mechanic, car dealerships all over the country are dealing with this.

“Be careful. When you think you’re buying from somebody, you need to pick up the phone, call them, or better yet, go to the car lot. You should be going to the car lot anyway and looking at the car, driving the car,” the mechanic says.

He adds that the situation makes him mad because, for a lot of people, they’re using their bit of savings to get a reliable car that they likely need to get around town: “Makes me madder than can be to share this video, everyone.”

@royaltyautoservice Share to protect others from falling for this! #cartok #buyingacar #dealership #carsoftiktok #advice #tips #mechaniclife #mechanicsoftiktok #usedcar #usedcardealer #fyp #foryou #viral #automotive #duet #stitch ♬ Pop beat BGM / long version(1283324) – nightbird_bgm

The video has over 60,000 views as of Monday afternoon. Commenters shared their own tips to avoid scams.

“Only buy in person. need to inspect the vehicle and drive it before committing,” the top comment read.

“We used Carvana and got a very good deal. A lot better than carmax. I’d never deal with an unknown dealership,” a person shared.

“You should have used cars checked out by your mechanic before buying,” another pointed out.

The Daily Dot reached out to the auto shop for comment via email.

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*First Published: Apr 1, 2024, 5:00 pm CDT

Stacy Fernandez

Stacy Fernández is a freelance writer, project manager and communications specialist. She’s worked at The Texas Tribune, The Dallas Morning News and run social for The Education Trust New York. Her favorite hobby is finding hidden gems at the thrift store, she loves a good audio book and is a chocolate enthusiast.

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