Fake bank draft, trashed car. Private sale goes wrong for B.C. man

A B.C. man is without his beloved car after doing a very Canadian thing: trusting a stranger.

Shawn Hack of Vernon says he listed his 2004 Subaru Legacy for sale, and that he was contacted by someone who wanted to buy it.

At the handover in Kelowna during the Easter weekend, Hack gave him the keys to his right-hand-drive import. In turn, the buyer handed over what was a fraudulent — but realistic-looking — bank draft.

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When Hack went to deposit the bank draft, his heart sank after being told it was a fake.

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“(The bank teller) just rubbed her fingers against it. She could tell by the paper that it was fake,” said Hack, who ‘sold’ his car for $11,000.

Hack said he originally “suggested cash. But he said he wasn’t comfortable carrying around $11,000, which I can understand to an extent.”

Not long after being scammed, Hack was contacted by the police – they had found his car.

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Rather, what was left of his car.

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“I essentially have my car back, but it’s scrapped down to nothing,” he said. “I can’t salvage anything out of it. I can maybe get a few bucks here and there for parts, but there’s nothing left of it.”

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ICBC says because Hack voluntarily handed over his keys to the buyer, it won’t be offering any coverage as it’s not considered stolen.

“We understand this is an unfortunate and distressing situation for anyone to be in,” the insurance agency told Global News. “ICBC’s optional insurance doesn’t provide coverage for a vehicle when the ownership has been voluntarily transferred including if the transfer was induced by false pretense or fraud.”

Hack said the news leaves him without a car and needed cash.

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“I was doing this to help support my partner and myself because we’re going through tough times,” Hack said of why he tried selling his beloved ride. “I didn’t want to sell it. I did it to support us.”

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Global News contacted several agencies about vehicle fraud.

The Canadian Bankers Association quickly replied, saying if a bank draft is the accepted form of payment, sellers are advised to wait until the draft has been cleared before completing the sale.

Another option: Accompany the buyer to a bank when depositing it.

According to the CBA, the use of cheques may be declining, but financial institutions in Canada process around one billion cheques every year.

More information about protecting yourself from cheque fraud is available on the CBA’s website.

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Also, anyone who thinks they may have been scammed should contact police, contact their financial institution and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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