Most Common Car Selling Scams

Most Common Car Selling Scams

In fact, not only car buyers, but car sellers as well may become victims of various car selling scams. Are you planning to sell your used car? You should be very careful, as today’s auto market is full of scammers. That’s why the awareness of car selling scams is vital for protecting yourself against dishonest people. As an informed car seller, you had better read this article carefully. You will learn about the most common car selling scams and helpful tips to prevent them.

A car buyer agrees to purchase a car without seeing it

Very frequently, a car seller places an advertisement to sell his/her used vehicle and receives a call from a car buyer. This person asks just a few questions related to the advertised vehicle and immediately agrees to purchase it. If this occurs, you should obviously suspect that something is wrong. Most probably, you are dealing with a scammer. A typical continuation of this story is this one. You get a bad check from the buyer and later another person will pick up the automobile.

Overpayment car selling scams

These are two widespread scenarios of overpayment car selling scams.

  • A car buyer contacts you and expresses a strong interest in becoming the owner of your used car. During the negotiation process concerning the price of the vehicle, the person mentions that he/she can pay more than the advertised price. However, the buyer informs that he/she lent a huge sum of money to another person. So, this individual will be the one to pay the car seller the promised sum of money. Never agree to such suggestions, as it may be full of various dangers.
  • A buyer assures a car seller that he/she is planning to send a large check. The aim is to cover the cost to ship the vehicle. Typically, scammers send a bad check and request car sellers to deposit it. If you decide to agree to ship the car before it clears, you will appear in a troublesome situation. As it is known, locating as well as retrieving a shipped vehicle is no easy task. You need time and a considerable sum of money to do it.


Payment plans and escrow services

Another trick that scammers use to trap car sellers is making a promise of paying for the vehicle on a monthly basis. You cannot trust someone whom you don’t know. They may either miss or stop payments. Thus, the wisest decision is simply rejecting such offers.

Regarding escrow services, it is worth to mention that some unscrupulous car buyers use unknown escrow services for making transactions. In most cases, whenever the car buyer gives the signed title, the financial means will disappear.  But what is an escrow service? Let’s define it. Generally speaking, the escrow service is considered a third party which aims to preserve accountability during the process of the transaction. Unfortunately, one can also come across fake escrow services that help scammers make money.

Helpful tips for car sellers

If you really want to avoid appearing into scammers “perfectly designed” traps, consider putting into practice these tips.

  • “Trust, but verify”, as Reagan mentions. Thus, to be on the safe side, you had better verify checks prior to transferring the title.
  • Avoid shipping the vehicle abroad, if the payment issue isn’t completed yet.
  • As a cautious car seller, you should stay away from illegitimate escrow services. It is a good idea to avoid unknown escrow services.
  • Documenting everything is the key. Whatever you sign always have a copy of it. In case you become the victim of car selling scams, this information will help the investigation process greatly.
  • Consider meeting car buyers at a public area, since you don’t know what kind of person you are dealing with.
  • Avoid signing over the title, until you get the promised sum of money.
  • You should refuse the car buyer’s suggestion concerning monthly payments.


As a conclusion, we would like to advise car sellers to avoid agreeing to the very first offer. Patience is essential. Wait until the appropriate car buyer contacts you. Unfortunately, if you have become the victim of car selling scams, don’t lose your hope. You have the option of reporting the fraud to the National Consumers League or the Bureau of Justice.