POLICE are reminding people to remain vigilant when shopping online after a recent spike in car sale scams.
The Financial and Cyber Crime group is urging people to ensure the goods on sale and the seller are legitimate by conducting research before making a purchase.
"If a website, online marketplace or seller does not participate with a secure payment service such as Paypal or a credit card transaction, or is offering greater discounts for direct deposit, it is most likely a scam," a police spokesman said.
"Usually the criminal is after your finances and your personal identification information."
Police have warned people against wiring money, buying or selling to someone who is unable to meet in person and making a deal before seeing the car.
Shoppers should try to deal locally, conduct background checks and wait until a cheque has cleared before handing over the car title.
They should never trust sellers or buyers who say a transaction is guaranteed by sites like eBay and beware of those who attempt to make a deal in haste.
"Call the buyer or seller to establish phone contact," a police spokesman said.
"If the buyer or seller seems to neglect details agreed to via e-mail or is unable to answer questions about their location or the location of the vehicle in question, it is likely to be a scam.
"If the number in the ad is disconnected, be wary. If the buyer or seller says it is disconnected because they are overseas, ask for a landline phone number at their current location, as well as a mobile phone number."
Online scams can be reported online at cyber.gov.au.
Anyone who has lost money in a scam should contact their bank immediately.
Read more local news here.