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OMVIC Blog: Car Buying Tips

Protect yourself from vehicle fraud – tips to stay safe

Mar 19

Written by: OMVIC Communications
Friday, March 19, 2021  RssIcon

With an increase in online shopping and working from home, online scams are more widespread, and consumers must stay informed to protect themselves from fraud. Buying from an OMVIC-registered dealer ensures you’re protected by Ontario’s consumer protection laws and have access to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund.

One example of fraud includes a dealer posting an ad for a non-existent car to gain access to your finances or personal information. As a consumer, asking the right questions and recognizing red flags can save you time and money.

Check out these three tips to better recognize possible signs of a fraudulent car advertisement and ask the right questions to protect yourself when buying a car.

1.    A deal too good to be true

A drastically underpriced car could be a sign of a fraudulent vehicle ad. The best way to protect yourself is by doing your research. Once you decide on your ideal car’s make and model, check typical price ranges for similar vehicles, and ask yourself, “what does a newer make or model typically cost compared to an older one?” Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

2.    The salesperson doesn’t let you view the car

If a seller makes up excuses as to why you can’t see a car in-person, it could be another case of fraud as the vehicle simply doesn’t exist. Common excuses could be that they’ve moved and keep the vehicle in storage, or it’s located at a dealership too far away to visit. The best thing to do in this situation is walk away.

3.    Poor quality pictures

Pay close attention to the photos in the seller’s ad. Do they look like stock images? Do they lack detail? If the photos don’t have you convinced, ask the seller to provide others. If they make up excuses or offer unconvincing images, it may be another sign to move on.

We also have our registered dealer and salesperson search page on our website, so you can look up if a dealership or salesperson is registered with OMVIC before you buy. If the phone number in the ad is different than the phone number on our website, call the public number and confirm whether the ad and the car are legitimate.


About OMVIC

At OMVIC, we strive to maintain a fair and informed marketplace for consumers, dealers, and salespeople. Our website has plenty of tips for buying a car online, and our team is always here to support you through every step in your car buying journey.

Email OMVIC’s consumer support services or call 1-800-943-6002 to be sure you’re getting the right information to make a sound decision about your vehicle purchase.


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