Riders are warned to be cautious about buying a motorcycle or other vehicle online after a surge in scammers.
In the latest scam operation, the vehicle is offered at a very cheap price by a member (usually female) of the armed forces who needs to sell quickly as they are being posted overseas.
The buyer is asked to submit payment into an escrow account which ends up in a bank account in Romania or Poland and the vehicle is never delivered.
So far this latest scam operation is only targeting cars and is being investigated by Victoria Police.
However, it is similar to scams that have been operating for online second-hand motorcycle sales and is becoming increasingly more common.
Among the many scams are sellers attempting to shift bikes which are unsafe to ride, have a hidden history or are stolen.
The used vehicle market can be a dishonest and dangerous place to conduct business.
But by being aware of common scams and how to avoid them, you should be able to find a reliable, safe and affordable motorcycle second-hand.
Here are a few of the more common scams to keep a look out for.
eBay, Gumtree and Craigslist scam
Ebay, Gumtree, Craigslist and other similar websites have become huge marketplaces for buying and selling used motorcycles.
Unfortunately, there are many scams out there so always be wary with this route.
As in the above scenario, the seller demands a large downpayment to hold the motorbike. Once this has been received, communication ceases and they disappear.
Clocking involves winding back the odometer to make the bike appear newer (this is also very common with used cars).
Avoid this scam by looking for screwdriver marks around the casing, seeing if the general condition matches the mileage and by checking MOT and service documents to see if the displayed mileage adds up.
You may think that you have found a huge bargain due to the surprisingly low asking price. However, you will then understand why when the police pull you over for riding a stolen bike.
Avoid purchasing a stolen motorbike by carrying out a vehicle history check, which will also uncover anything else that the seller may be trying to conceal.
You should also be wary of low prices and sellers attempting to speed up the process.
Beating the scammers
Beating the scammers requires you to be sceptical. It sounds awful, but never trust anyone you don’t personally know.
Always view the bike in person, or have a close and trusted friend check it for you.
Do all the relevant checks on the bike’s bona fides. Click here for more information.
If they want you to pay into a third-party or escrow account, insist that you select the account.
Online sellers can also be scammed out of their bike. Click here for details and tips on how to beat the scammers.