Are you in the market for a new vehicle, or perhaps an apartment? Facebook Marketplace can be a very useful tool, but you need to watch out for scammers.

I'm currently in the market for a new vehicle and the prices are insane. I don't know where all this money has come from post-pandemic, but for a local rock radio DJ balling on a budget, it's frustrating, to say the least. Then when I finally think I run into a great deal on a new rig and go through the whole process of contacting the owner, nine times out of ten I find it to be a scam. You've probably dealt with this same scenario. I wanted to share some tips that I stick to when shopping on Marketplace or any digital spot where you are buying directly from a seller instead of an actual business or store.

If It Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is

This seems pretty self-explanatory, but people still fall for this. If you see a newer vehicle that you have a good idea of where it should be priced, or what it's worth, only to see the ad has it listed way below book value, it's probably a scam. The same goes for apartment shopping, especially in this market. Chances of you finding a "screaming deal" in Missoula right now are slim to none.

Location

I always try and shop as close to home as possible. Sometimes that's not an option, and you might have to travel out of town or even state. We are all fairly familiar with our surroundings. This is where good judgment plays a huge part. If a car is listed in Missoula and the pic has a beach and palm trees everywhere, there is a good chance it's a scam. Also if the license plate of the vehicle is visible, make sure it's semi-local. Now they might have an old picture and have just moved up to Missoula, but if the price is off as well as the location, you can bet it's probably a scam.

Research The Seller

Scammers are getting really creative. Sometimes a seller with a high rating just isn't enough to trust. High ratings can be faked and manipulated. Research what else they have sold or are selling. Many times I've seen them have the same vehicle listed in 10 different states with the exact working of the image. That's a dead giveaway it's a scam and the vehicle probably doesn't even exist.

Never Pay Online

As my dad would say, "this is how they get ya"! And he's right. Scammers will try to get you to put down a deposit, or even fully pay online with promises that the item will be delivered, or the lease contract has been mailed. Never deal with money online unless it's a secure trusted site. If you buy a vehicle, do the whole test drive, meet the owner process, etc. Deal with the seller directly in person.

Hopefully, these tips will help you stay safe. Happy hunting.

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