Common Car Sales Scam to Avoid

Common Scams To Avoid When Trying to Sell Your Car

The world of cars can be a dangerous place, especially when it comes to selling your vehicle privately. Not only do you have to worry about many different scams, but you also have to worry about your safety. There are plenty of cases of people trying to sell or buy a car privately, and then getting ripped off, robbed, hurt, or worse. Therefore, selling your car to a trusted dealership is the smarter and safer way to go. However, since some of you prefer to sell vehicles privately through Craigslist or some other form of advertisement, it’s important that you keep an eye out for scams.

Here are a few of the more common ones that you have to worry about.

Offers to Buy Sight-Unseen

In this scenario, a buyer will want to buy your car without even looking at it first. This should be considered a warning sign for this scam, because who would buy a car without first looking at it?

The larger part of this scam takes place when the buyer sends a bad check or promises to wire some money, then sends a different person to pick up the vehicle.


For this scam, it might sound like a really good deal on your end. But, it’s not.

A buyer is going to tell you that someone else owes him or her money that is more than the cost of the car you’re asking for. They will ask for the car in advance, and then promise you that sum of money that person supposedly owes them.

Alternatively, an overpayment scam can involve the promise to wire additional funds in order to pay the cost of shipping. Again, this would be a fraudulent check and they’ll ask for you to deposit it. When the vehicle ships out and the check doesn’t clear, you’re in for a headache.

Payment Plans

Avoid this at all costs when it comes to privately selling your car. You aren’t a car dealership, and chances are the car you’re selling isn’t overly expensive. One lump sum, upfront, in cash, is all you should require. If a prospective buyer is looking to purchase your vehicle, he or she can meet your terms. Don’t accept a check either.

Asking for Personal Information

If you have someone asking for personal information, such as social security number, birth date, bank account info, etc., then just hang up the phone. There is no need for someone to acquire that information if they’re looking for a car.

Paying With Checks or Money Orders

It might not always be the case, it’s better to be safe now, rather than sorry later. Just don’t accept checks or money orders, considering either could be fake.

The worst part is, if you sign the vehicle over before the check or money order “clears,” then you’ll end up essentially giving your car away for free.

Better Off Buying at a Dealership

Here’s the thing – why worry about dodging these scams, when you could just sell your car to a dealership? At a reputable dealership, you know for a fact you won’t get scammed. If you do, for some odd reason, at least you have legal recourse against the dealership. In this case, the dealer you worked with will have to answer to the rules and regulations set in place by both the dealership and the law.

With private sellers, it’s much easier for them to get away with a scam. So, just avoid private sellers at all costs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *