Fraud Prevention Month 2021: Taking it offline

| Consumer bulletins

March is Fraud Prevention Month and AMVIC is once again partnering with the Competition Bureau’s Fraud Prevention Forum to raise awareness on fraud and educate consumers and industry on how to recognize, reject and report fraud.

Shopping online during the pandemic

The pandemic has changed the way we do many things, in particular our shopping habits. Many consumers are shopping online, and that includes shopping for vehicles. Although a lot of the shopping process can be done virtually, AMVIC recommends you make the time to see the actual vehicle in-person before you commit to it. Purchasing a vehicle is a major financial commitment and it’s worth your time and effort to eliminate surprises. Remember to follow all government guidelines and health orders to keep yourself safe.

Don’t buy unseen

Whether you are buying privately or through an AMVIC-licensed business, you should always choose to see the vehicle in-person at some point. Don’t just rely on photos or video calls.

When shopping with an AMVIC-licensed business, ask to book a test drive. Many automotive businesses have safety precautions in place to deliver a vehicle to your home for a test drive. Remember, if you want to sign a contract or start negotiating for the vehicle during the test drive or right after it, you must deal with a registered salesperson. If the person who delivered the vehicle to you for the test drive isn’t a registered salesperson, then it would be illegal for them to be a part of the transaction.

When dealing with a private sale, keep your own health and safety in mind and follow any health orders when it comes to gatherings indoors or outdoors.

Don’t send money right away

Sometimes we miss red flags or we don’t want to see them because we are excited about the purchase. Be suspicious when someone is asking for a deposit, especially if it’s a private sale. Don’t be in a hurry to send money over the internet. Sometimes fraudsters will tell you to send them money so that they will hold the vehicle for you. In reality, there was no vehicle to begin with and they are hoping to take off with your money. Make sure you have at least seen the vehicle in-person before you decide to send money. Remember, curbers (illegal, unlicensed sellers who often pretend to be private sellers) may use tactics to pressure you to give them money. A favourite reason is they have other buyers interested in the vehicle so you need to act fast. If you feel uncomfortable at any point, walk away from the deal – there are other vehicles out there.


Join the conversation online: follow AMVIC and #FPM2021 on Twitter and Facebook for more tips from Alberta’s automotive regulator and other Fraud Prevention Forum partners.