We have a client that buys several pieces of equipment over the year and buys the majority of them online. He unfortunately has been a victim of scams no matter how careful he has been. During one transaction, he had what he thought was a valid paid invoice from an equipment company. But when we, as his transporter called the equipment company to set up pick up time, they did not have the equipment we were wanting to pick up and had no record of the sale. When we forwarded on the paid invoice to them from our client, it turns out it wasn’t even their invoice, but had their name, address and contact information on it. It turns out the scammers made up their own paid invoice using the equipment company’s information.
We have compiled a list of tips to help you as a buyer to avoid these types of scams and have a good experience in your online equipment buying.
- When possible, only buy equipment from a reputable dealer or Auction Service
- Check the seller out as much as possible. Use google to find any information you can. If you have an address where the equipment is to be located at, use google earth to be sure that it is in fact at an equipment yard and not at a shopping center or someplace it couldn’t possibly be at.
- Ask for additional detailed photos of the equipment.
- If it sounds too good to be true, chances are it probably is. It might be best to walk away.
- Use a transport company that specializes in heavy equipment transport. Since they are in the industry, they may already know of the selling company.
- When possible, personally go look at the equipment. If you cannot do it yourself, your transport company may be able to help you have it looked at. This may cost you a small fee, but it is better to be out that small fee versus thousands of dollars for equipment that doesn’t exist.
- Always pay with WIRE TRANSFER! Never ever pay with cash or money orders…This is a CLEAR sign you are being scammed
- Unless you are buying from a dealer or auction service, avoid giving out your credit card information.
- Always get a written purchase agreement from the seller.
In today’s world, scammers are a real threat in all industries. We all need to do our due diligence to protect ourselves and our companies.