TIPS TO AVOID SCAMS WHEN BUYING HEAVY EQUIPMENT
Confirm the Seller is Real
- A seller should always clearly provide the name of their company, as well as their physical address, telephone number, and email address. If they don’t provide that information, that’s an immediate warning sign.
- If they do provide the information, you need to check that it is accurate.
- Ensure the name is accurate. For example, Expert Heavy Equipment Inc. is an S-Corp, as such, the ONLY legal name is Expert Heavy Equipment Inc., not LLC.
- Ensure that any email or telephone number you are given is an exact match of the information on the Contact Page of the seller’s official website. For example, anyone contacting you from Expert Heavy Equipment Inc. will have an @experthe.com – NEVER any other domain other than www.experthe.com. Gmail, Yahoo, or other personal email domain is a red flag.
- Go to the Secretary of State website, more specifically the Comptroller site and verify the business actually exists and is active. For example, Expert Heavy Equipment Inc. is SOLELY located in Texas. So to verify our company, you would go to https://mycpa.cpa.state.tx.us/coa/. You would then type Expert Heavy Equipment and then it will pull up the company with the Texas Tax ID number. You can then verify the company status, entity type (INC. or LLC), tax id number and address.
Ask Your Peers
- Google online reviews are not always reliable. Even if the company has 4.5 stars and above, the reviews may not be real or they may be subjective.
- Instead of only seeing what strangers have said online, ask your friends, coworkers, and industry peers if they have used the company in the past and what their experience was working with the seller.
- You can also ask the company specifically for references that you can call independently to verify.
Evaluate the Website
- Thoroughly review the seller’s website to make sure it looks professional. Most fake websites will look somewhat strange, with spelling and grammar mistakes with low-quality product images.
- If they have seals of approval or endorsement badges from a company you trust, like IEDA (Independent Equipment Dealer Association), contact that organization or view their website directories to verify they are a member. For example, Expert Heavy Equipment Inc. is a member of IEDA, as listed on the company website, www.experthe.com. IEDA is an equipment dealer association that heavily vets their members.
- So to verify our membership, you would simply need to go to the IEDA website, www.iedagroup.com and click membership on the top toolbar, then click standard members. The members are listed in alphabetical order, so you would scroll down to the E’s and you will see Expert Heavy Equipment Inc.
Confirm the Product is Real
Online scammers are becoming increasingly clever. They will screenshot real machines online and then upload to their website. These are essential steps to verify the machine if you are not able to physically go in person:
- Ask for a live Facetime or Video Call to verify the seller’s physical identity and the machine. Most scammers will not do a video call with them in the video to avoid identification.
- In addition to having the seller show their face, ask them to do a walk around of the machine and show the serial number.
- You can also contract a 3rd party company, www.wegolook.com, and they will verify the legitimacy of the machine for a fee.
Beware of Cashapp, Venmo for Deposits
No reputable equipment dealer will ask for a deposit using these applications. If a seller is asking for deposits via these applications, beware.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is
If the used equipment listed is in good condition, but priced well under market value, it is more than likely a scam. Scammers often steal photos and information from credible dealers to create fake sales listings and use low prices to gain interest.