How to avoid being scammed when buying a car online

How to avoid being scammed when buying a car online

Falling for an online car scam is an easy way to lose a lot of money. Here’s what to look out for when looking for a car online.

Published: Thu 5 Dec 2013, 5:29 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 3:01 AM

-The seller wants to use a wire service for payment

This should raise an immediate red flag. Wire services are used in scams all over the world, including but not limited to dating, lottery, rental and selling scams. If they ask you to wire money upfront before the exchange has taken place you are probably about to be scammed.

-The seller wants money in advance

Proceed with caution if the seller asks you to pay a deposit in advance. Ideally, money should only leave your wallet once you can collect the car. The only time you should pay money in advance is if you have found the car on a well-known legitimate website that offers buyer and seller protection plans. But be careful with these plans, skillful and cunning scammers can imitate the legitimate websites. Always double check directly with the company and only proceed with payment if you are 100 per cent sure.

-They are overseas for some reason

Most people would arrange for their car to be sold before they leave the country, so be skeptical. Make sure you see the car and take it for a test drive before even considering paying any money. Also, be suspicious when it comes to payment. No money in advance and avoid wire services.

-‘Quick sale needed’ with a price that’s too good to be true

The funny thing about anything that’s too good to be true is that they often are just that. Research how much the car should cost and if you are getting an unbelievably good deal you are likely being swindled for quick cash.

-A seller who changes tactics

If they want you to change the form of payment you initially agreed on, the website you are buying through or anything else that seems odd, think twice about the purchase.

It’s not just buyer's who can get stung. If you’re selling your car, here’s what to look out for:

-A buyer who seems more interested in collecting your personal information than the car.

-An overseas buyer is looking at your Toyota Corolla. You are not selling a vintage or luxury car; you are selling something anyone could find overseas so be wary of this buyer.

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