Buying Used Cars and Scams: How to Avoid Them

There are a lot of used cars for sale and a lot of people wanting to buy them. While this sounds like a great scenario, it’s all prime territory for unscrupulous people and scam artists looking to make a quick buck. If you’re a buyer, it’s best to know what you may be up against so you don’t fall victim to a bad deal.

“If it sounds too good to be true…” It probably is. How many times have we heard that in our lives? Probably hundreds! In the case of used cars it couldn’t be truer. Let it be your first red flag that something about the car or the deal may be amiss.
Don’t let yourself be pressured. Any seller is going to understand this is something that can’t be rushed if they’re honest. If they’re pushing, there may be not so-savory reason they’re in a hurry to close the deal.
Be wary of emotional sales pitches or reasons for a ridiculously low selling-price. Sure everyone has problems, but don’t get sucked in. Remain level-headed and skeptical. Why? It sounds too good to be true and the seller may be trying to redirect you away from that fact.
Don’t skip the car report. Sure, people complain they aren’t always accurate, but they can either verify or expose the seller’s claims about the history of the car.
Don’t process any financial transactions unless you actually see the car and it meets your expectations. This includes a deposit. Double-check the VIN on the car to the VIN on the title. Verify the address to the one on the title. Make sure everything checks out. It’s in your own best interest.
Be sure to meet the seller in a safe place if you don’t know the seller or it’s not a dealership. If you’re carrying a lot of cash to be sure you’re not a target for robbery. Don’t divulge any unnecessary personal information regarding your job, schedule or anything else that may give a scammer an edge.
Above all else, listen to your own gut instinct. If something feels foul or off, it probably is. If at any time you feel uncomfortable about the transaction, leave. There are plenty of other sellers and used car dealerships out there that can make you a legitimate deal.
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