The scenario: You want to sell your car without any hassles for a fair price.
So you place an ad on a community website hoping for a quick sale. Shortly thereafter, you get a call from what sounds like an auto company. For a fee, the company promises to put you in touch with a buyer.
If your car isn't sold, they promise to refund your money. So you pay the fee and wait for the company to present a buyer for your car.
The catch? According to a recent case settled by the FTC, the auto company's claims are false. There are no buyers and there is no refund. It's a scam designed to bilk consumers.
Steer clear of telemarketing scams related to selling a car by following these tips:
•Resist making an immediate decision when someone cold calls you in response to an ad you placed. Scam telemarketers are likely to use high-pressure tactics to get you to give them money.
•Research a company before paying a fee for their service. Use a search engine to find out what the company's track record is. Look for any complaints that might signal a red flag.
•Get the specifics of the service you're paying for in writing.
•Ask for a copy of the company policy and terms of service on paper, and make sure you understand the fine print before agreeing to it or signing anything.
•Register your home and mobile phone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry. Although it won't stop all unsolicited telemarketing calls, it will stop most. If your number is on the registry and you still get calls, they're likely to be from scammers ignoring the law.
•Report fraud. If you suspect a company is scamming you after having promised a service and not delivering, file a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or by calling the Midwest Region office at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday.