How to avoid getting ripped off when buying or selling a boat

Marinemax Miami - Selling boats

In this post we will talk about the scams that take place when people buy or sell boats from retailers, like Marinemax Miami, and the ways you can avoid being scammed.

Next, we will briefly review several of the most common scam techniques from a few years ago:

  • asking for a deposit in advance to keep the (non-existent) boat before you have seen it.
  • overpaying with a fraudulent check or bank draft so that you pay back the difference with real money.
  • asking for money transfers with less secure mechanisms such as Western Union or MoneyGram.
  • asking you to arrange and pay for shipping with a long-distance “sale” that never happens.
  • a story that ends with you giving personal details that can be used to clean up your accounts.

So what has changed?

Although sadly most of the scams above are still going on, one positive change for the better is that most phone companies now disconnect calls within a few seconds no matter which end you hang up.

Why is that important? Previously, phone calls were only disconnected if the caller hung up. If you received the call and hung up but the scammer kept their phone off the hook, the line could stay open for up to half an hour.

The fake bank call

Scammers have been exploiting this loophole to tell people, “Look, if you don’t believe me, call your bank to check. 

So you would hang up and call your bank but the scammers would keep the line open and put someone else on the line, so you would think you were talking to your bank. Then they would assure you that everything was fine.

This became such a big problem with all kinds of fraud, not just around boat sales like in Marinemax Miami, that police and consumer groups pressured the phone companies to change it. 

Now, if someone says they have sent you money for your boat, you can hang up, check your ringtone and call your bank safely.

Stolen Boats website

Also worth mentioning is

As the names suggest, the website registers as many stolen boats and engines as possible. The advantages are twofold: firstly, you can check whether an item is stolen before you buy it, and secondly, you can provide information if you think you have located a stolen item.

All of this makes it more difficult for thieves to get rid of stolen items, and the more difficult it is, the less likely they are to target the boats and their owners. Publications on the site are made by insurance companies and police rather than the public, so it is good quality information.

Stay Safe

Obviously we hope that all readers and clients will not encounter any scammers when trying to buy or sell a Marinemax Miami boat. The main thing to remember is that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.