5 Worst Car-Selling Scams That You Should Worry About

Most of us pride ourselves on being honest and trustworthy. Sadly, there are numerous people who follow a less honorable route and scam others to make a quick buck. Scams are increasing in frequency, especially since it’s easier to do online, such as fake emails. Car-selling scams, with their prevalence and hard-to-spot trickery, are something that you should worry about. However, information is power. To help you know what to look out for, here are the five worst car-selling scams.

What are the types of car-selling scams? 

Man leaning up against a white 2022 Toyota Corolla to represent a car selling scam
2022 Toyota Corolla | Toyota

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Car scams can work in both directions. The most frequent type of car scam is to sell fake goods. However, for car-selling scams, con artists take advantage of car sellers, as reported by Carbuzz. Car sellers who sell their car privately often need the money, so scammers capitalize on their desperation. 

View the five worst car-selling scams, and take the necessary precautions:

  1. Identity theft
  2. Sight-unseen buyers
  3. Money orders/fake checks
  4. Overpayment/underpayment
  5. Escrow services

1. Identity theft

Identity theft is a significant problem. According to the FTC, identity theft costs U.S. citizens $50 billion each year. Scammers pose as car buyers as a means to gain access to your personal information, such as your credit card number, social security number, and bank account. 

2. Sight-unseen buyers

Never sell your car to someone that is unwilling to see your car in person. If they refuse to do so, it should raise concerns about their legitimacy.

3. Money orders/fake checks

The basic premise of scamming car sellers is that the con artist doesn’t actually pay for your car. Be on the lookout for fake money orders and checks.

4. Overpayment/underpayment

If someone wants to pay much more money than the asking price of your car, it should raise a red flag. Conversely, a legitimate car buyer should never ask a private seller to do a payment plan. You’ll risk never getting any money after receiving the first payment.

5. Escrow services

Be wary of any car buyer that wants to use a third-party escrow service. Not many escrow services are trustworthy and reliable. Also, it’s very easy to create a fake escrow service for scamming car sellers.

How to avoid getting scammed when selling a car

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Knowing about the types of car-selling scams is half the battle. You’ll also need to take steps to avoid getting scammed when selling a car. Ideally, it would be best if the car buyer pays in cash. If they pay by check or money order, make sure that the money has cleared before you hand over your car.

Attempt to know as much as possible about the car buyer. Ask to see their driver’s license and proof of address, and confirm their telephone number. Also, keep documentation of the process. If you end up getting scammed, then you can report this information to the authorities.

Additionally, trust your gut instincts. If something seems off about the car buyer or you feel pressured in any way, it’s best to move on to someone else. You’ll likely have many people who are interested in buying your car.

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