Fraud Prevention

There are many advantages to online classifieds sites, but unfortunately online scammers have taken advantage of this as well. There are a few things you need to be aware of and on the lookout for while making your purchase:
  • If the Price is "Too Good to be True"

    The scammer will post a vehicle online for well below market value. When the buyer contacts the seller, the seller tells the buyer he will arrange for shipment of the vehicle once the funds are transferred. Once those funds are transferred the "seller" breaks all contact and the buyer is out of the money.

  • The Overpayment Scam

    In this case the seller is legitimate and the buyer is the scammer. The seller posts a real car for sale and is then contacted by a prospective buyer. The "buyer" then offers to send a cashier's check for the full amount plus additional monies for shipping costs. The seller is instructed to deposit the check into their bank account and wire the overage to the "shipper." When the transfer is picked up the "buyer" breaks contact and the seller is left responsible for the missing funds and the fraudulent check.

  • Escrow Scams

    Scammers will often suggest the use of fake escrow services that will hold the funds involved until the transaction is complete and both parties are satisfied. The seller will offer to ship the car and tell you there is no risk of fraud due to the escrow service, but once the funds are transferred the seller again breaks contact and the buyer is out of the funds.

Other tips and suggestions

  • Don't wire money or use bank to bank transfers in a transaction
  • Beware of vehicles located in a different state than it is advertised in
  • Try to deal locally when buying or selling the vehicle
  • Do not buy a vehicle from someone who is unwilling or unable to meet you face to face
  • Do not buy a car that you have not seen in person
  • Wait till a check has been cleared by your bank to transfer the title or the car itself
  • Beware of buyers and sellers who seem overly excited to conclude the sale
  • Trust your instincts. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is