Bike Buyers Tip: Scammers now run whole scamming companies
Bike Buyers is in the business of purchasing motorcycles which find themselves on the showroom floor of the famous Fire It Up dealership in Fourways, and the number of motorcycles on the Fire It Up floor suggests they are damn good at what they do. Collectively, they have many decades of bike buying experience and will be sharing their knowledge with The Bike Show Website every Monday offering tips, advice, guidance and warnings regarding your bike buying or selling experience. For this week’s tip, we look into how scammers are taking things to a whole new level.
As what often happens these days, you need a spare part – or even a whole motorcycle – so you type the bit you need into the internet followed by the words “for sale” and Google supplies a generous list of links, some of which are actually relevant to your search.
The top of the list is usually the popular online selling websites, with one advert displaying exactly what you are looking for. Understandably, South Africans have become a cautious bunch, so you click on the link for the ad and look for tell-tale signs of a scam, such as foreign-sounding names, mistakes and deals that look too good to be true. Instead of all this, you find what you are looking for, at a reasonable price and from an actual company with a landline and a website.
You click on the website and find an array of products, parts and motorcycles for sale with photos, all available to be bought online and shipped to where ever you are. You phone the landline, and a friendly person tells you they have the part in stock, and you need to pay a deposit before they will send it. You dutifully pay the deposit, and that’s the last you will see of your money with no part forthcoming. When you contact the company, they either have excuses or they stop responding.
What these scammers do is find companies that are going out of business or have recently gone out of business, and then steal this company’s identity. They will set up a website, an ordering system and even a landline. Of course, they keep no stock nor have any intention of keeping stock.
There are ways of avoiding this. The first is dealing only with companies you know or who already have a reputation. Otherwise, look at the website, particularly the photos.; if they appear to have conformity with their pics – like the place they are taken, the style and size of the photos – then they might be legitimate. If they are all over the place, like they have been sourced from many different websites, then you have reason to be concerned. Lastly, ask them if someone can come to their premises and fetch the product directly. If they tell you some convoluted story, such as that the part is in their warehouse and needs to be retrieved, then be extra cautious.