Facebook Marketplace scam: International student has car seized days after buying it in Perth
- Student’s car purchase taken by police
- Would-be Uber driver told it was stolen
A young international student living in Australia has been left devastated after the car he bought online for a bargain was seized by police days later.
He found the vehicle on Facebook Marketplace at a far lower price than similar models are listed at specialist car sales website with prices as high as $23,000.
Just five days after Mr Ishfaq handed over the cash, WA police officers knocked on his door late at night to inform him the car had originally been stolen.
Officers, who arrived at his home after 10pm, also took the stolen car and impounded it.
‘I told them, “I have the PPRS report for this car, and this car is under my name, so how can you (say) this car is stolen?’ he said.
Mr Ishfaq told 7News found the vehicle listing on Facebook Marketplace and says he twice met the ‘nice guy’ who sold it to him.
He felt confident the purchase was ‘legit’ when the car’s ownership was transferred into his name.
The student believes he ‘rightfully purchased’ the car he paid for, but has been left broke and without transport.
Mr Ishfaq is upset not only because of the financial distress he’s now in, but also as he did everything that was recommended in buying a second-hand car.
He did all the recommended checks, including checking it against the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR).
A PPSR search usually tells a buyer if a car is stolen, has debts against it, or is an insurance write-off.
‘The vehicle was allegedly stolen on 16 June before it is believed to have been fraudulently sold the next day to the third party who then sold it to Mr Ishfaq,’ WA Police told Daily Mail Australia.
It is understood the car was only reported stolen the day Mr Ishtaq bought the Holden, on 30 June.
That is why it didn’t appear as stolen in the PPSR report.
‘I am a student in Australia and have worked incredibly hard to earn the funds needed to purchase the car,’ he told 7News.
‘This situation has left me in a state of immense stress and tension as I am now without the car I rightfully purchased.’
WA Police says all the parties who have an interest in the car must submit a notice of claim.
They must also submit a statutory declaration detailing their grounds for a claim.
Mr Ishtaq is understood to have received the documents and is in the process of submitting his claim.
WA Police said the investigation is ‘ongoing’.
How to beat a Facebook Marketplace scam
- Check if seller’s Facebook profile appears new or incomplete. This could be a sign that the account has been set up for scamming.
- Check reviews of online sellers to see what previous customers have said.
- Insist on meeting in public to view the product before completing a transaction.
- Don’t hand over money until you see the item.
- Use payment options that include strong protections, like PayPal.