Tips for Identifying Used Car Scams on Craigslist

Shopping online is a monster that is best tackled by a paranoid shopper. Though even if you aren’t, there are a few precautions you must take. Whether your shopping for an insurance quote or dog food you have to do your research. The popular site Craigslist is a great place for legitimate sellers looking for buyers and vice versa, but from time to time you have to be careful to avoid the lurkers. Scam artists plague the car market, and Craigslist is no exception. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t take a few precautions to protect yourself when shopping around.


Reports from Hartford Courant count at least 15,000 car buyers that have been scammed out of nearly $45 million, though that number changes every day. No matter what you’re buying, be wary. For one, if you can’t contact the seller, don’t bother continuing your inquiry into the vehicle. Even if you do get in touch with them, be wary of emails sent using free services, and don’t trust phone numbers since they can be routed through various programs.

This means that even if you did report the crime, they will be practically untraceable.

Unbelievable Offers

If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be so quick to throw money at them if they say they’re on a deadline, protected by eBay or some other program. It’s your money, and a real dealer is interested in making the deal, not forcing your hand. Also, eBay only offers protection to buyers that buy the car through their site, not through PayPal.

See It In Person

Can’t test drive it first? It’s a scam. Be firm with your values, and don’t let someone tell you the vehicle is unavailable to drive and that you have to buy it before you even see the car. Tell them that if you can’t test drive the car you won’t pay. Don’t fall for the emotional stories about dead parents or relatives that drove the vehicle and now they want it off their property. These compelling stories are often scams.


Don’t fall victim to online scams on Craigslist like so many have. Always be cautious and don’t believe what you read even if you think it’s a trusted source. Keep an eye out for trusted email addresses when looking for contacts, and never do business with someone who is forceful with you. Remember, it is your money.


Related Posts

  • No Related Post