Coast buyer loses $6.5k after online car scam

A Sunshine Coast car buyer has lost $6500 after paying money to a fake account without seeing the vehicle first.

Sunshine Coast Criminal Investigation Branch officer-in-charge Daren Edwards said police were receiving complaints where victims were buying cars without seeing them first.

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Detective Senior Sergeant Edwards said buyers were going by online advertisements, interacting with a purported seller and paying money to the sellers’ accounts.

They are then realising, after the so-called seller stops all communication, they have been sicked into a scam.

Det Sen-Sgt Edwards said there had been two victims on the Sunshine Coast from car fraud.

He said in one case a Sunshine Coast buyer tried a car at auction through Auto Trader for $6500.

The victim had contacted the purported owner of the car online, only to be directed by the seller to a fake website.

Sgt Edwards said the seller then provided the buyer with fake escrow account details in which the victim was requested to pay the funds before they received the car.

Sgt Edwards said the buyer was told that the money would be safely stored until the victim said she had received the car and was happy to proceed.

After inquiries, it was found that the account was set up in the UK with HSBC, with multiple victims located in Queensland and Victoria.

Sgt Edwards said the victims wouldn’t receive their money back.

“If you are buying a car, go and physically see it, deal directly with that person at an address, see their drivers licence, complete Register of Encumbered Vehicles checks, consider RACQ inspections,” he said.

“These things will work towards you not being subject of a fraud.”

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