Before you buy your next boat, take a few precautionary measures to make sure you’re not being scammed
More and more boat sales are happening online, but how can you be sure you’re dealing with a reputable seller?
Northern Ireland-based broker Gulf Stream Boat Sales has shared the following advice to help you shop safer:
- Ask the seller to show you around on a video call and prove that the boat actually exists and that they have access to it.
- Some scams involve identity fraud, so ask to see a copy of the seller’s ID to verify they are who they say they are.
- Check their social media history to see how long they’ve been running. If they have been going for years, there’s a good chance they’re legitimate. If they’ve only been posting for a few months, that’s a red flag.
- Check for reviews on independent websites and forums, such as YBW.com. Remember reviews on a seller’s own website are easy to fake.
- It has been reported that some scammers have managed to hack the email traffic between buyer and seller, so they can send a fake email that looks like it’s from the seller with all the correct logos, email headers asking for the funds to go into a different bank account. To avoid this, phone the broker and ask them to confirm their bank details verbally, then send a small test payment of an arbitrary amount. After you’ve sent the test amount, call again and ask them to confirm how much you’ve sent and that it’s gone into the right account before you commit to paying the full pre-survey deposit (usually 10-20% of the total).
- Commission an independent survey and only complete the sale once you’re comfortable with the results.
And remember, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is!