Whether you’re looking to buy or sell a caravan, don’t fall foul of pesky fraudsters. Here’s our roundup of some frequent caravan scams.
Scams when selling a caravan
- You receive either an email or phone call from someone saying they’re from a finance company. They claim that they have potential buyers who have already been cleared for credit on the caravan and are ready to buy the caravan. They then go on to say that they can put you in touch with this buyer but only at a cost which is payable immediately. This is usually around £70-80. Needless to say that these buyers don’t exist and in giving your card details, the scammers can then use your information at a later date for fraudulent purchases.
- You receive an email from the fraudster claiming to be someone interested in buying your caravan. They agree to buy the caravan and ask for a home address they can send a cheque to. They will also tell you that they are planning to ship the caravan abroad and that the shipping company will collect the caravan. You receive a cheque which is an amount significantly more than the price which was agreed. Following this, the ‘buyer’ will send an email apologising for the cheque mistake, explaining that the amount included payment for the shipping company. They ask you to bank the cheque anyway, but electronically transfer the amount meant for the shipping company. Having transferred the money, their cheque doesn’t clear and you are out of pocket. The lesson here is that you should never release any money or your caravan until any payments have cleared into your bank account.
Scams when buying a caravan
- You are looking to buy a caravan and browsing internet adverts. You settle upon an ad that you like the look of at an absolutely amazing price. You don’t want to miss out on this great deal and contact the seller who tells you that they have already had a lot of interest and a number of viewings arranged. They tell you that if you are willing to pay a deposit over the phone by credit/debit card, they will reserve the caravan for you. Little do you know that the caravan you want to buy does not exist, and the advert you’ve seen is just photos from an old advert. Not only do you lose the deposit you’ve paid over the phone, but your details can then be used on bigger fraudulent purchases.
- You see an online advert for an amazing deal on a caravan you just can’t miss out on. When you contact the seller, they advise that they are away on holiday/business at the moment, but you can still purchase the caravan using the website you’ve seen the advert on as an intermediary. You will then receive and invoice, claiming to be from the website and you will be told that your payment will be held by them until you’ve viewed the caravan when the seller returns from their trip. Upon receiving the invoice, you make payment – unknowingly sending your money directly to fraudster for a caravan that doesn’t exist. Caravan advert websites don’t offer this ‘holding’ service and the bank details on the invoice are for the fraudster who will now disappear with your money.
- After browsing online, you come across an amazing deal and contact the seller of the caravan for more information. You arrange a viewing but the seller wants to make sure that you are serious about making the purchase, and to prove your ability to pay ask you to transfer the funds to a friend or family member via Moneygram then send them the receipt as proof. In sending the receipt, you will be sending the fraudster all the information they need to get hold of that money.
- You find an amazing, not to be missed deal for a caravan on eBay and get in touch with the seller for more information. Given that you can absolutely not miss out on this caravan you agree a price and the seller says that they will deliver the caravan to you after you have made payment to them via PayPal. When you’ve made payment, they will immediately withdraw the money and you will never hear from them again.
Whilst eBay and PayPal have increased their security and instances like these are less frequent, there are still many highly skilled fraudsters who will have no problem in getting past security and identity checks.
The lesson behind all of these scams is that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Always buy from a reputable source, and never pay for anything upfront.Many thanks to Josh Garrod for initially highlighting these scams on How2Caravan. More info can be found here