How to avoid car sale scams: for buyers and sellers

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How to identify a scam:

Buyers


Scammers will pose as genuine sellers and post fake ads. Often if the price is too good to be true, it probably is. When you show interest the scammer will likely be unavailable -usually traveling or working abroad- but explain that the goods will be delivered by an agent upon receipt of payment. Heads up … you’ll never receive the goods. 

Sellers


Often these ‘buyers’ are also conveniently unable to meet and are strangely trusting; willing to pay large sums without seeing the item they are paying for. They also may seem a little impractical – for example, an overseas buyer may be interested in purchasing your item despite it being commonly available in their home country and the fact that shipping costs would far outweigh the cost of the item. They may provide a fake receipt of payment. Or they may send a cheque that will bounce.


Before taking action

Buyers

·         Google the exact wording the ad. You may find other people reporting the same or a similar scam.

·         Only pay for items you have personally inspected and never prior to inspection – deposits included!

Sellers

·         Never accept cheques for more than the asking price (read more about overpayment scams)

·         Never send items until payment has been cleared by your bank

What to do if you discover a scam or are a victim of a scam

·         Contact the relevant website and let them know the scammers profile

·         Spread the word among family and friends to raise awareness

·         Reports scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page

·         Get help here

Why www.carwant.com.au is safer

You can only be contacted by people who have registered a free account with www.carwant.com.au. And you can only be contacted when there is a match between wanted and for sale advertisements on www.carwant.com.au.

This makes a helluva lot of work for a scammer – individually matching their wants and needs with yours to be able to generate an automatic notification through our system– which substantially reduces the risk of scams.

Car security tips

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Leaving for work, you step out, coffee and keys in hand. When your car is not where you remember parking it, you stand on the side of the road, scratching your head, looking up and down the street.

It’s not quite the cold sweat you break out in when you think you’ve lost your phone. Obviously misplacing something that weighs less than 10 grams seems much more reasonable than misplacing a tonne of metal and glass.

Slowly it dawns on you … Someone’s stolen your car.

And if you think that’s bad, the process that follows isn’t much fun either! So here we consider how to reduce the risk of this happening.

Firstly, what’s the likelihood of my car being stolen?

You’re probably thinking, this won’t happen to me, but according to the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council, it could.

Their data shows motor vehicle theft in Australia increased 6 per cent in the 12 months to March 2016 to 53,110 vehicles stolen.

Short term passenger/light commercial (PLC) thefts accounted for the highest proportion of the rise (10 per cent), with profit motivated motorcycle theft also up 5 per cent.

The performance of individual jurisdictions was mixed with strong reductions in profitmotivated theft in NSW and WA and increases in total thefts in VIC, QLD and WA.

The National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction offers a five star rating system that shows the theft risk of vehicles in Australia, which can be accessed here https://carsafe.com.au/risk-rating. The more stars, the lower the risk.

OK, so what can I do to keep my car safe?

  1. Lock up – it sounds obvious, but ensure all doors, windows and sunroofs are locked before leaving your car.
  2. Leave nothing behind – valuables include money, clothing and handbags, luggage and electronics of any description.
  3. Park wisely – obviously in a garage is best, or in front of your home (consider installing a motion sensing light), otherwise choose well-lit areas with high foot traffic.
  4. Sound the alarm – Consider installing a car alarm and engine immobiliser. If you don’t have the budget for this, steering wheel locks are a more affordable, less noisy deterrent.
  5. Protect your keys – Never leave your keys in the ignition. Also never hide spare keys on your vehicle, or in obvious, easily accessible locations around the home or office.

Other vehicle security tips

  • Do not leave any important documents including identification cards and papers in your vehicle.
  • Secure your number plates by purchasing one way, anti-theft screws which can be installed using a standard screwdriver, but they require a special tool to remove.
  • Insure your vehicle against theft and make sure your policy is up- to-date.
  • Remember many vehicle insurance policies will be void if you don’t take adequate precautions to protect your vehicle.

What should I do if my car is stolen?

  1. Call the police. You’ll need to file a stolen car report and the police will need all the information relating to your vehicle including make, model, year, colour, registration number and VIN number.
  2. Call your insurance provider. You’ll need to report the theft and confirm your policy number and level of cover. Also report any personal items that were in the car at the time
  3. Inform other contacts. If your wallet was in the car and contained credit cards – tsk, tsk, task! – notify your bank. If your house keys were in the car, have your locks changed, particularly if there was paperwork identifying your address in the vehicle. If you still owe money on your car, you will also need to call the finance company to report it as stolen.

What you shouldn’t do

If you’re able to pinpoint the location of your car using GPS technology, do not try to find the car on your own. It can be dangerous. Report the location to police.

Christmas gift ideas for car lovers

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December is the perfect time to do all your online Christmas shopping to ensure it’s delivered in time. At carwant.com.au, we’ve navigated our way around the World Wide Web to bring you what we think are the top 10 gift ideas for car lovers this Christmas.

  1. Personalised plates –There are a variety of plates you can order, with options such as background colour, letters, numbers and style of plate. Find out what you’ll need and where to go (in NSW) by clicking here>
  2. Driving experience – Know someone who’s prone to racing around corners and speeding down straights? Sounds like you need to send them on a driving day. Find an experience here>
  3. Massage cushion – A fabulous idea for those who do long distance driving. Choose from those that keep the driver cool while helping stimulate blood flow or those that heat up and include a multifunction remote to control the vibrating action. Find one here>
  4. Phone car cradle – Each state has different legislation but in NSW, for example, you basically can’t touch your phone while operating a vehicle. This can using the GPS functionality pretty difficult. Find a phone car cradle here>
  5. Drivemocion LED Car Sign – It’s time to move on from the stick figure families and tell the driver behind you what you really think of them. This remote controlled LED car messaging sign offers 16 messages or faces. Buy one here, or Google for more providers>
  6. Funky air fresheners – We couldn’t go past the Breaking Bad Heisenberg Air Freshener… smells like strawberry, not like meth! “Perfect if you’ve dropped a few pieces of fried chicken from Los Pollos Hermanos under the seat or if you’ve got a slightly unkempt passenger often traveling with you,” according to this website> If you’re not a fan of Breaking Bad, it’s definitely worth a Google to find the themed air freshener of your choice!
  7. Car inspired cufflinks – Your favourite car enthusiast or automotive mechanic is probably used to spending his days getting dirty under the hood… give him a reason to dress up and look sharp with this exquisite selection of automotive cufflinks! Check out the range here>  Etsy and eBay also have some great options available.
  8. Car wash kit – You can probably pick up a pre-packaged detailing kit at your local automotive store, but if you’re a DIYer just grab some car cleaning products, an air freshener or two, throw it in a bucket with some cellophane and a ribbon, and hey presto! Some spare L or P plates can add the personal touch when applicable.
  9. Gift card or certificate – A gift card for the automotive store is a safe bet, but you could also go a gift certificate for a professional detail or service. Short on cash? How about a coupon for you to clean your friend of family member’s car?
  10. A new car – There’s nothing quite like finding a new set of car keys under the Christmas tree! Start your search for a new or used car at www.carwant.com.au.

New Year’s resolutions for car owners

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Here are seven things you can do in 2019 to keep your car in tip top shape.

  1. Check your tyres

They could save your life. Check the amount of tread and how the tyres are wearing. If it looks to be uneven, you should get your vehicle’s alignment measured and adjusted. Also keep an eye on your tyre pressure – having the right tyre pressure reduces strain on your car’s suspension, improves the mileage you get on your petrol and improves your safety on the roads. Read more about tyre maintenance here>

  • Learn how to change a tyre

Flat tyres always seem to happen when you’re in the middle of nowhere. And, if you do have roadside assistance, it can take ages for them to get to you. Worse, if you don’t have roadside assistance, you’re going to have to coax someone into helping you. It’s much easier if you have the knowhow and required items to do it yourself. Here’s a how to guide>

  • Check oil and water

Accurate warning lights and the improved reliability of the modern car mean that checking under the bonnet has become a less frequent pastime for drivers. However, most manufacturers agree that you should regularly check oil and water levels. Here’s how to check your car’s oil and water>

  • Check your battery

The only worse thing than a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere is a flat battery – because you’ll definitely need someone to help you then. In this case, preventative maintenance is key. Every four years or so, it’s a good idea to check your battery and see if it needs replacing. Your service centre should let you know, if you get your car serviced regularly. 

  • Change your wiper blades

Wiper blades are an easy car feature to forget. That is, until you’re caught in a rain – and let’s face it, we’re experiencing some pretty crazy weather conditions on the storm front in Australia. Keep yourself safe during storms – change your wiper blades at least once or twice a year to ensure they always work properly.

  • Schedule bi-annual services

Check your owner’s manual. This will specify how frequently your car should be serviced and the most important components and systems for checking. Generally speaking, a car should be serviced at least every six months (and therefore twice a year). Of course, if you notice that your car is underperforming, this is a sign that attention is necessary. Find out what servicing includes here>

  • Keep it clean

Washing your car regularly – and the right way – will keep it looking younger for longer. And the more regularly you do it the less time consuming it will be. Here are 23 Ways To Make Your Car Cleaner Than It’s Ever Been courtesy of BuzzFeed>

Carwant.com.au is where buyers and sellers converge when they want a fast and fuss free car purchase process.

Basically, buyers post a free ad, requesting the kind of car they want and indicating what their price range is. Sellers advertise their used cars for sale in the same way. And when there is a match, CarWant sends both parties an automatic notification.

To view what is currently wanted for purchase or available for sale, and find out how to connect with the relevant buyers or sellers, visit www.carwant.com.au.

Valentine’s Day gifts for the car lover in your life

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Here are four fabulous gift ideas for the man or woman in your life this Valentine’s Day.

TrackR bravo

If your Valentine is always losing their keys, TrackR have the solution. Basically you attach the coin-sized TrackR bravo to your keys and use the TrackR app to find them. Thanks to a handy distance indicator, the TrackR app will show if you’re getting closer to finding your keys.

Warmer, warmer, hot …

Looking for some extra Valentine’s Day synergies? The catch phrase for the TrackR bravo is ‘Your search is over’ and we’re sure you can romantically weave that into the Valentine’s Day card.

Lamborghini leather bracelet

Lamborghini is quite possibly the Tiffany & Co equivalent for car lovers.

Made in Italy from the same genuine leather used in the interior upholstery of the Lamborghini cars, the stylish braided wrap-around leather strap is enhanced by a steal clasp and silver coloured Automobili Lamborghini shield pendant.

And it comes in a gift box!

Sure, it might look a little wanky on the wrist of an actual Lambo owner, but imagine how fabulous and ironic it would be hanging from the rearview mirror of a lowered Honda Civic, or whatever.

Make it work for you!

Car show or race tickets

Sometimes the best gifts are experiences. Plan a nice day out for you and your Valentine, and create some lasting memories. You might even be able to pick up an extra present on the day.

A new car 

There’s nothing like finding a new set of car keys in your Valentine’s Day card. Your Valentine won’t be expecting anything more than the card and then – voila! The ultimate surprise. Start your search for a new or used car at carwant.com.au.

Need more ideas? Check out our list of Christmas gift ideas for some more inspiration.

Do you know what your car knows?

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The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) recently launched the My Car My Data campaign and website to help inform Australians of the emergence of ‘connected’ cars, and what the potential benefits and risks associated with these vehicles might be.

What is a connected car?

Any vehicle that can connect with devices and networks as well as with third parties to provide information about the condition or operation of the vehicle or to assist the driver in safely operating the vehicle. This can include details about the driver/owner.

This includes Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I), Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V), or Vehicle to a third party such as your vehicle’s manufacturer.

‘Telematics’ is the technology behind connected vehicles. 

What data is being collected/transmitted?

Engine performance, including component maintenance of failures

  • Seat belt use
  • GPS location and speed
  • Driving behaviour, such as erratic acceleration and excessive braking
  • Occupant details, through sensors in the seats, seat belt and airbags
  • Mobile phone use and personal information stored on the phone
  • And more.

This can be used to create a detailed profile of driver behaviour and habits, real-time vehicle location and direction, or the use of communication devices.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

AAA Chief Executive Michael Bradley said: “Connected cars offer many consumer benefits. For example, these vehicles can talk to the world around them, helping drivers to be aware of and avoid traffic snarls or dangers on the road. This can help drivers reach their destination more quickly, more safely and more fuel efficiently. In the event of an accident a connected car can alert emergency services bringing help more quickly. 

“But the control of the data generated by these vehicles – and the emerging debate surrounding who gets to access it – is set to pose potential privacy risks and possibly drive up running and repair costs due to impaired competition.

“Like with many other aspects of our modern lives, car technology is evolving far faster than our laws. Governments around the world are wrestling with how to balance innovation and consumer protection.”

Why didn’t I know about this?

At the moment there is no standardised, customer-friendly way in which car makers are required to make customers aware of what data their new car may collect, where it is sent and who owns it. 

Where can I go for more information?

www.mycarmydata.com.au

Car safety in wet weather

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Autumn has arrived and with it has come some pretty severe weather – heavy rain, flooding and even a cyclone. Here are some tips to keep you safe in your car in autumn and winter.

Before you hit the road

Check wiper blades:  Keep yourself safe during storms – change your wiper blades at least once or twice a year to ensure they always work properly. Don’t neglect this easy yet important task.

Check your tyres: Check the amount of tread and how the tyres are wearing. Also keep an eye on your tyre pressure – having the right tyre pressure improves your safety on the roads.

Check your lights: Make sure you’re visible on grey and overcast days. And remember that at night, low-beams are better, as high beams reflect back on the raindrops and reduce your field of vision.

Plan your trip. Leave a little earlier if you need to be somewhere at a certain time and the weather is looking pretty shabby, best to give yourself plenty of time to avoid rushing.

On the road again

Slow down: Yes, yes, we’re all in a hurry. But when the road is wet it will take longer to stop when you brake and you’re going to be a helluva lot later if you wind up rear ending someone.

De-mist: Cold air outside + body warmth inside = foggy windows and reduced visibility. Use your air conditioning as a de-mister on both the front and back windows.

Don’t skid: Minimise the amount of water between your tires and the road by driving in the tracks left behind by the car in front. Just remember to keep a safe distance.

If it’s flooded, forget it: Did you know more than half of flood related deaths in Queensland are the result of people driving through floodwater? Never drive through flood water

In the garage

Prepare cover: Obviously parking undercover is the best solution, but if you can’t try and avoid parking your car under trees during storms. Maybe also invest in a car cover to minimise hail damage.

Check your insurance: Remember that third party, and third party, fire and theft, insurance do not cover vehicles damaged due to hail, flooding and other storm related activities, like fallen trees.

Need a new car, or want to sell one? Check out www.carwant.com.au