For a used car can be a convenient, cost-saving alternative to spending a Saturday scouring your local lots like Woody Sander Ford. However, you also need to take extra care to avoid fall prey to an online scam. Here’s how to avoid getting ripped off when buying a used car online.
1. Avoid escrow account fraud.
With this common scam, a sought-after car is advertised online for an unbelievably low price, typically with the seller claiming hardship. He or she will ask you to place funds into an escrow account or wire money into their account. Avoid buying a used car this way unless the seller agrees to use an established and verified online escrow service.
2. Don’t be swayed by familiar names.
Scammers are able to mimic the websites and logos of car dealers and industry leaders, making it challenging to tell if the seller you’re dealing with is legitimate. For example, Edmunds reports that 400 separate escrow scams have used its name since 2010.
3. Only deal locally.
When shopping for a car online, set the parameters of your search to an area close enough that you’ll be able to meet the seller face to face. If he or she is unwilling to do so, it’s likely a scam. Instead of giving your address to a stranger, consider meeting in a public place.
4. Inspect the car in person.
Never buy a car without not only seeing the vehicle for yourself but also having it inspected by an independent mechanic. If the seller refuses or pressures you to use his or her mechanic, pass on this probable scam.
5. Take your time.
If the seller is pressuring you to make a decision or send money right away, that’s a red flag. A legitimate seller will understand that you need to research the vehicle using the VIN number and verify the details of the transaction, both of which take time.
6. Do your due diligence.
Before meeting in person, have the seller send a photo of the car’s VIN number, which you can use to purchase a vehicle history report. When you see the car in person, check the VIN you were given against the VIN number of the car itself. Verify information from the report such as mileage to ensure that it matches up.
By taking these six safety steps when shopping for a vehicle, you’ll effectively protect yourself against online car selling scams.
More savings to read here–> 5 Car Financing Problems and How to Avoid Them.
About the Author:
“This article was written by Dixie Somers. Dixie is the proud mother of three girls and wife to a wonderful husband. She is a part-time blogger and freelance writer, and she enjoys writing for several niches, including business, family, and finance.”
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