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The UTV Parts Scam, What Can You Do To Buy Safely?

Over the years at UTV Canada the market for aftermarket parts and accessories has grown a ton! Unfortunately, so has the market for scammers looking to take advantage of it. In this blog, you’ll learn how to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of a UTV parts scam

For the scammer, the process is quite simple. Find pictures of parts, put them up for whatever price and post it across social media, hoping for someone to bite.

And bite, they do.

Looking through pages across social media and the web, it’s a daily occurrence to see someone commenting with interest under one of these scam posts. I couldn’t tell you how many of these are converted into sales, but I can assure you that there’s been a lot of money lost to various offroad parts scams.

The good news is, you’re not helpless. There are steps that can be taken to help prevent you from falling victim to one of these scams.

Do a basic check of their profile

Most scammers on social media can be quickly weeded out by simply looking through their profiles. Most of these scammers prey on the vulnerable. Some scammers may intentionally spell their name wrong, and use low-quality profile pictures or tell unbelievable stories to try and attract a more gullible person. Someone that’s more likely to actually give them money, and maybe even come back again.

Check the join date

That being said, there are scammers I’ve seen with regular names, good spelling, and high-quality profile pictures. Another piece of info Facebook leaves at your disposal, is the account join date. If an account only joined Facebook a week, or even up to months ago, you can be confident that it’s a UTV parts scam. A lot of these scammers’ accounts will get banned, so they are continuously creating new Facebook accounts. You can also see when an account joined a group, where the same rules apply.

Reverse image search

Most of these profile pictures are stolen from other people. You could always reverse image search by saving their profile picture and putting it into https://images.google.com/ by clicking on the camera and dragging it into the box. Sometimes, the profile picture will be shown across multiple accounts and in that case, you know the profile picture is stolen/fake. That being said, they can literally steal from anyone. Just because you don’t catch the scam through a reverse image search, doesn’t mean you’re safe. Scammers have even acquired tools to work around this.

Be skeptical of things

Be wary of relying on friend/follower metrics to indicate the trustworthiness of a seller. It’s not difficult for a scammer to either buy followers or get bots to friend you. If there are no real people on their friend’s list, that would also be an indication that they’re scammers.

Think of all your real friends on social media. Do any of them have really low-quality profile pictures? Probably not. Have any of them joined Facebook within the last couple of months?

Facebook has been around for a long time, most real people have been on Facebook for years now. Not to say people can’t make new Facebook accounts, but what are the odds someone made a profile just cause they wanted to give you a great deal on their UTV part/accessory?

To be honest, you can’t even trust positive reviews. Through looking at many of these scam pages/people, I’ve drilled into the review tabs multiple times, and many actually have great reviews! However, scammers have many ways to generate these fake reviews, whether it’s a paid service or by having multiple accounts.

Some basic tells

The next thing to do is scroll down their profile. Like a bad poker player, sometimes a UTV parts scam shows their hand. Check their profile picture history, if the person in the profile picture changes, it’s a scammer. If there are bitcoin/cryptocurrency links, or other untrustworthy links, it’s a scammer. There were a few profiles I saw while making this article, where they post hundreds of offroad vehicle parts everyday, nothing else. Many accounts go for quantity, not quality. At UTV Canada, we advertise our parts on social media often, but not 25 times daily!

By the way, if a deal is too good to be true, it just is. No one is selling you four new Carnivores mounted on MSA rims for $500 total.

Buy from a known seller

To be honest, the best way to be sure you’re buying from a trustworthy source is to simply buy from a known seller. Our best example of one is obviously UTV Canada. There are also many trustworthy dealers across the nation, plenty of who we deal with ourselves!

Our offroad community isn’t that big, so oftentimes people in our riding groups will also know someone who can help them find what they need.

Communicate through a video

What if you’re absolutely convinced that you can save money by buying a used part from the Facebook marketplace? Make them send you a video. This way they’ll be able to show themselves, the part you want, and even add in a personal element such as your name, or the date. A scammer may be able to make one generic video and use it over and over. This is why the personal element is important. A scammer won’t be able to send you a video with their face in it, with the part, saying your name or date.

For example, if your name is ‘Dave’, you should be safe if the seller sends you a video saying “Hey Dave, it’s Tyler here on October 29, here’s the Super ATV rear bumper we were talking about on Facebook, I’m ready to get it to you whenever you need!”

Don’t move apps

I’m going to give you another scenario. Someone on Facebook is trying to sell you a rear bumper. You send a few messages back and forth, and everything seems ok, but now they’re asking you to send them a message on an app like WhatsApp, or Snapchat.

If you’re already connected on Facebook, why would you need to move the conversation?

I can’t tell you why these scammers might look to move platforms, is it because their Facebook accounts may get banned, but not the others?

Some may want you to text or call, if you recognize the area code this is ok. Technically, you can call through Facebook but most people prefer regular phone calls.

Never give them anything more

If you still become a victim of a UTV parts scam, never give them any extra money. If shipping is involved, make sure before you purchase your part that shipping fees are included. You can even make them show you a screenshot of the shipping quote so you know they aren’t overcharging you. Once you pay, you should never have to pay a second time to get the part you already bought.

In Closing

There are still a lot of honest people out there, but it’s important to be skeptical. It’s better to have to keep looking for the part you want than to be out $500 as a victim of a UTV parts scam. Once your money is gone, it’s gone. There’s no way to get it back.

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