A vehicle for lease
Source: Unsplash/Sven D

Beware of Car Leasing Social Media Scams — Red Flags, Explained

Kathryn Underwood - Author
By

Feb. 23 2023, Published 10:34 a.m. ET

The potential for scams is all around us, from your mailbox to your email inbox to your Instagram account. One concern that a British company warns of is the possible rise of scams on social media that prey on customers with poor credit. Here are some ways to avoid car leasing social media scams.

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Whether a car lease is the best option for a customer is another question, but Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, based in the U.K., has some cautionary words for would-be car customers who seek a car through social media. Meta's decision to offer paid verification may increase the potential for car leasing social media scams.

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Source: Nationwide Auto Lease Facebook

Before trying to lease a car with someone, verify that it is a real company.

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How can car leasing social media scams trick consumers?

One of the primary ways that customers can be tricked on social media is by a "company" promising to offer a lease even to customers with poor or zero credit. Anything that sounds too good to be true is a huge red flag for a potential customer. If your gut tells you something is off, definitely be cautious.

With Meta's coming paid option to get verified status, it's possible that some people who have verified accounts will launch fake business accounts, like a fake car lease company. If you're searching on Instagram or Facebook for car leasing companies, you'll want to exercise caution.

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Automotive specialist and director of Nationwide Vehicle Contracts Keith Hawes said, “Ultimately, you should feel 100 percent comfortable before entering into a contract with a leasing provider."

chuttersnap gtsehglk unsplash
Source: Unsplash/Chuttersnap
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How do you tell if a leasing company is legit?

Nationwide Vehicle Contracts offered key warning signs after locating a scam account on Instagram:

  • "too good to be true" especially in offering a lease with no credit check
  • lack of contact information for the business
  • no search results when looking up the business online
  • reverse image searching on Google can show if photos of cars were taken from other websites
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Other tips for determining whether a car leasing company you find on social media is legitimate include simply taking the time to do your due diligence in researching the company. Of course, you should do a basic Google search of the company name to see if anything turns up. A genuine car leasing company should have contact information, customer reviews, and other information available.

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A car for lease
Source: Auto Group Leasing Facebook

You should also avoid doing business with anyone who contacts you without solicitation. While this occasionally can be a legitimate business tactic, scammers frequently use cold calls, emails, and social media contacts to get your information.

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If you do receive unsolicited contact from a so-called car leasing company, do your own research on them before responding or having anything to do with them. A quick Google search can reveal quite a bit about a company, including whether or not it actually exists. (If it does exist, you may also find it on the Better Business Bureau site.)

What types of things can happen if you're scammed?

You may be wondering how a car leasing scam could harm you. Even a legit company could try to raise the price without your knowledge by being sneaky with the contract. Nationwide Vehicle Contracts also says that they might steal your down payment or trade-in value, add items into the lease, or increase the lease length without your knowledge.

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Inside of a truck for lease
Source: Auto Group Leasing Facebook
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How can you avoid social media car leasing scams?

In general, to avoid being the victim of car leasing social media scams, be wary of any lease offers you get through your social media accounts. Avoid clicking on ads in social media. Instead, navigate directly to search for the alleged business yourself to find out the key details.

The main thing to beware of is usually promises that sound too good to be true. Any message claiming to offer something very unusual (like a new vehicle lease with no credit check) is usually a front for a scam, so steer clear.

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