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Quick-thinking vehicle seller foils buyer's scam attempt

A For Sale sign in the window of a vehicle. (CTV News/Steve Wishart) A For Sale sign in the window of a vehicle. (CTV News/Steve Wishart)
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Police advise vehicle owners to be cautious about selling privately after a recent incident where the seller did everything right when faced with a scammer.

Police say the seller made the right move by agreeing to meet a potential buyer in a public parking lot so there would be witnesses if anything went awry. They say the buyer showed up with other individuals who claimed to be mechanics.

Police say the buyer took the vehicle for a test drive and came back saying it needed significant work. They offered the seller a reduced price, which was declined.

"Sadly, the test driver had stopped somewhere and added a foreign substance to a reservoir under the hood and sprayed something onto the engine, which caused it to smoke," Barrie police explained in a release about the incident.

The seller took the vehicle to a trusted mechanic, who police say found the substance, cleaned the reservoir, and had the car working properly again in no time.

"As for the smoke, it dissipated after the engine area was cleaned of what had been sprayed on it," police added.

Police say the message is simple, "When selling anything, no matter how big or small, you must always do it in a manner that ensures your safety is never compromised."

Police also reminded sellers that items are just property that can be replaced, so if something seems off about a buyer, such as if you are suspicious or uneasy about their behaviour, "it is ok to just change your mind and politely leave."

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