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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Criminal lawyer
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 23549
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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How can I tell if cash is stolen? I have a buyer for my car

Customer Question

How can I tell if cash is stolen? I have a buyer for my car and he wants to pay cash. I can check if it is fake (I have a machine and eyes etc) but how do I tell if it is stolen. Even if I pay it into a bank (before giving him the car) they may not know until it is too late!
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Fraud Examiner
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

My name is Fran, and I will be assisting you with your question.

I admit that there's no way that you can find out for sure whether your buyer's cash is stolen, but I may be able to give you some direction anyhow.

My UK sources tell me that it is perfectly normal for car buyers to pay for a car in cash and that even car dealers take cash. They also remind me that cash is safer than a check, which takes two days to clear and which can be dishonored. I do, however, understand your reservations, however, particularly if the car is an expensive one and might be leery of such a transation myself.

I suggest that you ask your buyer to accompany you to your bank where you can deposit his monies in his presence. Bring the paperwork with you so that the bank knows what this is all about. When the money is successfully deposited, you can sign the car over to him and that solves the whole problem. If the bank tells you of a problem, you will know it before you lose the car. If on the other hand, the buyer balks and raises a lot of objections, you will know that there's something dodgy about the transaction and find yourself another buyer.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yep, that is basically what I wrote "Even if I pay it into a bank (before giving him the car) they may not know until it is too late!". The bank does not necessarily know for sure until later (central clearing etc) if the money is stolen (or v good fake), at which point they will just take the money off me and/or unwind any movement of the money after that? There must be a way to get the bank to check some database of stolen money? I suppose I could ask the bank that. Seller could be a very good con-artist. I suppose I could take a photo of the buyer and take his finger prints on my phone etc, but that does not get me my money back if it all goes pear-shaped! Might put him off though.


Amount is £25K. Too risky me thinks.

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Is there some reason that your buyer cannot accompany you to your bank? Does he want to purchase ths car from somewhere abroad sight unseen?

Use the reply tab to respond. I'm in the US and about to have breakfast, but I'll reply as soon as I'm finished.
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

I was hoping to get more information from you and here's why.

There is a car scam traveling around the world that we hear of quite frequently. I was looking to discover if your facts conformed to the scam pattern. In the typical car scam, the buyer is overseas or somewhere in your own country a great distance from you. He cannot see your car but is eager to buy it sight unseen. That's always a red flag. Then he promises to pay you in more than the amount you want for the car with the understanding that you will wire money for to the courier who he says will pick up the car for him.

No courier will ever come. None of the promised money shows up. The cash you wire goes directly to the scammer whose contact information proves fake and who disappears into thin air with your cash.

This may or may not sound similar to what you've got, but even if it's not, the bottom line is:

1) if he has not yet seen and test driven your car, you don't want this deal. Nobody reasonable just hands over £25,000 sight unseen.

2) it's too much cash and it will raise eyebrows at your bank. If he is not willing to go to your bank with you as you deposit the money and get the papers from you there at the bank, you don't want this deal either.

3) Alternatively ask him to pay you by certified check.

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