If you're trying to sell your car on Craigslist, keep an eye on these Craigslist car buyer scams as of 2021-2022:
- Asking for your personal information
- Telling you, they will pay you more
- Using stolen checks
- Not showing up
- Using a third-party payment method
- Test drive the car alone
- Out-of-state or international buyers
- Offering weird deals
- Will buy your car without a test drive
- Using automated messages
Craigslist is the common, typical classified website for selling almost anything. It has tons of page views every month, and you confirmed that many people would see your ad in no time. However, when it comes to selling a car and considering what's going on with the car shortage in 2021-2022, the number of scams and reported troubles by people trying to sell their cars are increasing significantly. That's why you must familiarize yourself with the Craigslist car buyers’ scams.
Understanding and learning about these scams should not discourage you from giving it a try and posting your car on Craigslist. You can have really good opportunities, and you might meet with the best buyer who can pay you the top dollars you're dreaming for but, all we're saying here is that you should be careful. You should be alert to any red flags that whenever you see, you should walk away no matter how good the deal is.
Craigslist car buyer scams: 2021-2022 review
Although the number of scams is increasing significantly on Craigslist, it doesn't mean that you can't flag them immediately. They are very common scams that you can't detect by just reading through the following list:
1. Asking for your personal information
One of the easiest patterns you should detect immediately is when a buyer asks you for personal information. Typically, you're the one who's selling the car, and usually, you'll ask for their personal information because it will be needed to transfer the ownership. And when the buyer asks you for your personal information, that should be a big red flag.
Therefore, most experts recommend that you never share any of your personal information on Craigslist and any online platform. It is very dangerous, and it can get you auto trouble if not put your life at risk.
2. Telling you, they will pay you more
When you sell a car on Craigslist, the expected outcome is that the buyer will come and ask you to reduce the price. However, when suddenly the buyer is offering you much more money than what you're posting, this should be another big flag that you should be aware of.
It's never common or normal for the buyer to offer extra money because they're generous. But, unfortunately, this is a very common and old method of scamming you that's been used a lot recently. Therefore, if any one of the potential buyers is telling you that they're going to pay you more than what you're looking for, you should walk away no matter how much their offer is.
3. Using stolen checks
If you read online, you'll know that using stolen checks is very common spam that many scammers have been using to trick any buyers. These scams have been used for buying cars and buying any other elements on Craigslist.
Therefore, most automotive experts always recommend getting paid in cash. Cash payments are the safest for selling any item online, whether a car or anything else.
However, if the buyer insists on paying using a check, it is recommended that you meet the buyer at their bank account to confirm that the check goes through and confirm that their check information matches their personal information and it's not stolen. Keep in mind that it's also important that you meet the buyers at a public place because if they're using a stolen check, it can be a risky situation to tell them that this is not their check, and you could put your life at risk. Therefore, choosing a public area like a bank parking lot or a Walmart parking lot is much safer because there are some videotaping cameras and many people around.
4. Not showing up
Have you ever tried to sell something on Craigslist and come up with an agreement with the buyer, but he never showed up? Unfortunately, this is a very common problem with Craigslist. We can't call it a scam, but it's something to keep an eye on before making a final decision about selling the car.
You want to confirm that the buyer is very serious, and you can tell from the conversation with her the buyer is willing to come and check out the car, or he's just wasting your time.
5. Using a third-party payment method
Payment methods are one of the most common categories with the most scams on Craigslist. Not only you'll deal with problems when using checks but also when using any other third-party methods.
If you don't know already about these third-party methods, many buyers will ask you to use a third-party account where they can hold the payment until they get the car. Unfortunately, these third-party accounts belong to them, and at the end of the day, you won't get paid, and you're going to lose your car. Therefore, keep yourself solid about your decision of payment methods no matter how much the deal is. You don't want to deal with all the consequences that could happen from losing your vehicle or even losing your life in some instances.
6. Test drive the car alone
Another very common scam on Craigslist is when the buyer asks you to test drive the car only by himself without you in the vehicle. This is a big red flag because there is a very high chance that this buyer will take your vehicle and just run away. Therefore, you must stay in the vehicle when the buyer test drives your car.
Keep in mind that just driving your car is a common thing that you want to encourage the buyer to do because you want to convince him to buy your vehicle. However, if you're not comfortable driving with the stranger in the vehicle, you might want to bring your family member or friend to accompany you so the situation doesn't feel awkward.
7. Out-of-state or international buyers
Typically, when you want to sell your vehicle, you want to select local buyers because a very common scam happens when the buyer tells you that he wants the car to be shipped overseas or to another state. Even if the deal is very good, shipping your vehicle to another state is a big deal, and it costs you a lot of money. Therefore, you should do the math right and never fall for selling your vehicle overseas or internationally.
If the buyer asks you to ship the car or sell it out of state, it might not be worth it, and you should walk away and never fall this other Craigslist car buyer scam.
8. Offering weird deals
Often, when you try to sell your vehicle on Craigslist, someone might come to you and say do you want to trade your car for a phone or a laptop? Unfortunately, there are many of these, and it can be very time-consuming and overwhelming to many busy car sellers.
Therefore, you should immediately spot when the buyer is not serious and ignore contacting them because this will waste your time.
9. Will buy your car without a test drive
Although it might be exciting for you to hear that someone will buy your vehicle without testing driving it's, that should be a big scam. A normal lawyer would want to check the car and see it, and if you see that the buyer is not interested in scheduling an appointment, you should walk away no matter how much he's going to pay you.
If the buyer told you that he doesn't have the time to meet with you and he's OK with the pictures here posting, you should be very cautious because this is a very common phishing alert that you should be aware of and even if you're excited about the offered number, it shouldn't get you to fall into this trap. So, never fall for this Craigslist car buyer scams.
10. Using automated messages
You can immediately tell that you're talking to a spammer by monitoring how he speaks. Typically, spammers copy and paste add text from other locations that they use for everybody. In other words, if you realize that someone is posting a big chunk of text without spending the time writing it, it sounds like he's just copying it from somewhere and trying to get you to fall into his trap.
Therefore, when you have a conversation with the buyer, consider asking more questions and other detailed stuff that a typical automated system might not respond to or answer. You should walk away once you notice that it's a robot or it's not normal the language the buyers are using.
How to sell my car on Craigslist without getting scammed?
After hearing all these scams, selling our vehicles on Craigslist might sound a little scary. However, this should not discourage you because once you are aware of them, you should immediately flag them and then move on by finding the best buyer.
We have a case of experience in the car selling market, and we would like to share with you some of the best recommendations to help you sell your car on Craigslist without getting scammed:
- “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”
- Monitor any red flags we indicated in the previous section and walk away whenever you feel that the buyer is a scammer
- Ask for the buyer’s information and get a phone number to communicate further if possible
- Monitor for any automated responses that could indicate that this is a potential scammer
- The site on the payment methods and be clear about your best option
- Select an open area that has a lot of other people and probably videotaping cameras like Walmart parking lots or bank parking lots
- Have a family member or a friend accompanying you when you meet with the buyer
- Confirmed that the buyer is coming to check out your car, and he's not just wasting your time
- Never accept any third-party methods for payments
- Be clear about your vehicle's issues, and do not surprise the potential buyers because this is going to be just a waste of time for you and the buyer
- Don't get fooled by higher payment offers because they're typically scams
- Clean your car and pull up high-quality photos that attract good buyers, and never scam them by posting false information
- If you decide to go with checks, confirm that the buyer is using his check with his personal information by probably comparing the information to his photo ID
- Sign all paperwork, so you don't hold liable for anything that happened to the vehicle once you sell it
- Review your DMV website and confirm that you've signed all paperwork and canceled the registration so you don't get scammed for any follow-up things that could happen to the vehicle by the buyer
Craigslist car buyers scams: final thoughts
We all know that 2021-2022 is perfect for selling any used car. However, with the increased demand for buying new vehicles, there is a very high chance that people can get scanned, especially on classified websites like Craigslist.
This article provided you with common Craigslist car buyers scams that you should be aware of, and once you notice them, you should walk away no matter how much the deal is.
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