Don’t fall into the trap of fraudsters
As a consumer, you must take measures to protect your family, home and other valuables. It is important to stay alert to avoid falling into the trap of fraudsters. Existing and potential vehicle finance customers are not exempt from fraudulent schemes.
In this instalment of our Street Smart series, we highlight some of the red flags that you need to watch out for as a vehicle owner or buyer.
What do you need to take note of when dealing with official communication from a banking institution?
- Be careful of communication that doesn’t come from an identifiable email address. For example, an email offering support with a previously declined vehicle finance application from a banking institution such as Absa would not come from an email address such as BOB@gmail.com. If you have doubts, please contact us directly using independently sourced contact information from, for example, the Absa website.
- Be wary of communication stating that the individual works in partnership with a bank such as Absa, or that the customer was referred to them by the bank. Such communication may also promote the use of the fraudster's verification procedures, such as accessing unknown links, websites or contact details created by the fraudster.
- Any communication where you are asked to provide personal information that fraudsters can use to submit fraudulent applications on their behalf should raise alarm bells. Such communication may offer guaranteed approvals, unrealistic benefits and so on.
- Be wary of any documents with inconsistencies such as spelling errors, different font types, incorrect contact details or a logo in the incorrect position purporting to be from a bank.
What are typical traits displayed by fraudsters?
- Fraudsters may suggest that customers alter information on their documents, for example, income details and expenses to ensure that an application gets approved.
- They may be vague or non-responsive to questions when asked about the vehicle, product features or characteristics.
- They always create a sense of urgency and convince people that the deal won’t be available for long or that other buyers are interested.
A general principle is that if the deal sounds too good to be true, you should ask questions and do your own research.
What should customers look out for when shopping online for a vehicle?
- When buying online, it is important to ask if you can come and view the vehicle at the business premises. This is to check if there will be any excuses as to why you cannot view the vehicle beforehand.
- Be wary of requests for upfront payment before viewing the goods.
- If the communication seems suspicious or if you are unsure, look up the company on the internet to confirm the details.
What should customers look out for when buying a vehicle privately?
Always meet the prospective seller and ask to see proof of ownership, for example, a copy of the NaTIS document or the last licence renewal request with the seller’s details before you agree to buy the vehicle.
With the rising number of fraudulent scams negatively impacting vehicle buyers, Absa has developed a solution called Private Buy, which makes the purchase of a vehicle from a private seller more credible. We partner with dealers who conduct technical inspections on vehicles, helping customers to make more informed decisions when buying a vehicle privately.
What are some important considerations when performing a transaction?
- Never pay a holding deposit if requested to do so urgently.
- Check the premises of the seller or dealer via Google Maps and look at the surrounding areas.
- Check your bank’s online guidance around fraud and making secure payments.
- Always buy from known and reputable dealers.
- Nothing is guaranteed, so do your own research and homework upfront before putting pen to paper.
Please visit our Safety and Security section for assistance with fraud-related matters.
Disclaimer: The advice contained on this blog is for general purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances, objectives or financial needs. Accordingly, readers are advised to seek appropriate advice from licensed professionals prior to making any investment, or taking up a financial product or service.