How to Avoid Used-Car Scams

In a typical vehicle scam, the scammer who usually inquires from overseas arranges to pay for the car with a cashiers check or certified check in an amount thats more than the vehicles purchase price. The scammer justifies this by saying a previous vehicle sale fell through, or the extra money is needed to pay for shipping expenses or customs fees on the car. Note that the initial and even, perhaps, all subsequent contact from this type of scammer is via text message or email, with excuses provided for a lack of phone communication.

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If you have any concerns about the legitimacy of a transaction process or a car buyer, please contact the Cars.com Fraud Prevention team at . And for more on how to shop smart for a used car, check out the video below.

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How to Avoid Used-Car Scams

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When asked to wire funds back to the buyer for your car, just say no. Its never a good idea to wire money to someone you dont know on a used car because its an untraceable transaction. Avoid negotiating with anyone who proposes this kind of bargain.

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One common vehicle scam is for a fraudulent buyer to request purchase of a used car without ever seeing it, claiming it is priced favorably. Fraudulent buyers typically confirm the cars asking price, ask for photographs and ask whether there have been any repairs to the vehicle. Upon the sellers response, the fraudulent buyer then tells the seller that a particular third-party service is the most secure way to conduct online transactions and asks for the sellers third-party service account details.

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Along with the number of consumers conducting transactions online, internet fraud has increased during the past several years. Big-ticket transactions are a primary target, but that shouldnt discourage you from selling your used car on your own. Go for it, but be cautious and educate yourself about a potential scam.

Please note that m does not involve itself in the transaction between the cars buyer and seller. Additionally, watch out for the following ways sellers can be lured into a scam:

PayPalandGoogle Walletare examples of legitimate third-party transaction service providers. However, fake representations of these companies products are often used as a cover to commit fraud.

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At this point, the scammer will often, as with the Cashiers Check Scam, explain that payment has been arranged in excess of the cars selling price and instructs the seller to return the overpayment viaWestern UnionMoneyGramor another way to transfer funds. Unfortunately, the victim of this scam does not learn that the PayPal account or other third-party transaction was fake until after the successful money transfer of the overage.

Be sure to verify the identity of the buyer as well as the payment method PayPal or otherwise before initiating a transaction, and avoid selling a car to any buyer whose identity you cant verify. Always exercise caution when a buyer wishes to purchase a used car without seeing it or negotiating the price, as it could be a scam.

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The scammer then asks the cars seller to wire the difference either to him or to the shipping company to cover expenses. Or the scammer will send a cashiers check as a deposit, then decide to back out of the deal and ask the buyer to wire the funds back.

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