Buying via the Internet is convenient for several reasons. Unfortunately, there are some shady people out there who use other people’s photos to create a “For Sale” listing of a car they do not own, often have never even seen.
We’ve encountered such a case just recently, when a very nice 1969 Porsche 912 Coupe that we sold in 2006 was offered for sale again. The old photos used and a seller who was a bit too accommodating without any hesitation raised red flags, and the copy of a fake California title he e-mailed to us confirmed our suspicion.
The lesson to learn from this is to be cautious. You may not know what a genuine title from a certain state looks like, so if you are dealing with a seller you don’t know, you are well advised to take steps to confirm that he has the car he offers for sale in his possession, and that the car comes with a — genuine — and clear Certificate of Title. Ask for assistence if you are unsure. There are few things more devastating than transferring a large amount of money into the unknown for a car that you will never receive.
In our case, any money transferred to that seller would most likely have been moved from the receiving US bank into a Nigerian one very quickly, and the account would have been closed afterward. Don’t be a victim — deal with people you know and trust, or be extra careful out there!