Common Scams To Look Out For When Buying A Used Car

The thrill of buying a used car can quickly turn sour when you encounter or experience a scam that affects you securing the best deal on a great used car. If you are in the thick of a used car buying process, you should be aware of individuals who prey on innocent buyers with a too good to be true deal of the century.

Here are a few tips to be on the lookout so you can avoid getting caught up in the smoke screen from a potential car seller turned car scammer:

Face Time Is Best

Online searches are a great way to find your next ride but don’t get trapped into a deal without insisting on some quality meet and greet time.  If the individual is really serious about selling the vehicle as well as eager to unload the vehicle to a dedicated buyer, he or she would be opposed to sit down and chat.  Steer clear of those sellers who are only interested of doing business online.  There could be a scam lurking in the shadows of the internet.

Hold On To The Money

Despite the fact that you are so eager to getting the best deal for a beauty you saw online, do not let your wallet become your guide until you know for sure that deal is legitimate.  Make sure to see the car in person before you offer any money.  Under no circumstances should you wire or transfer money.  Offer to go to the bargaining table with a money order or certified check.  This may deter would be scammers would be trying to take away your hard earned cash on a bogus deal.  Also, make sure the seller is not requiring anything to be handled through foreign currency.  That should be an automatic red flag.

Buyer Beware

Private sellers may ask for a deposit up front to secure a deal on the vehicle is in the works.  However, try to do some background checking to make sure this seller runs off with your deposit.  Used car dealerships do not require a deposit but still make sure that the dealership is reputable and well stand by their used car policy for requiring money up front.

Access Before You Buy

When you have found the perfect car, you want to make sure there no problems that could soon arise after you purchase the car.  Private sellers may not give access to potential buyers about the vehicle especially if it pertains to accidents or major repairs.  To find out the vehicle’s history, you can get a Carfax report.  This report will highlight any previous accidents or responsible that has been indicated for this vehicle.  Often, a body shop or dealership mechanic would be able to point out any problems or fix-ups that have been done to the vehicle.  Some savvy scammers have been able to alter the VIN to hide any changes to the frame, body or internal components.  The VIN can be processed through the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s system.

Stay Informed

If you find something wrong with the vehicle you are looking at, ask the seller about any concerns you have.  When you have a gut feeling about the vehicle, go on your hunch before you go further with the deal.  Approach the seller with questions or concerns that you may have about the vehicle.  If it seems that the seller is open to address the things that are in question.  For example, the paint on the bumper is different than the paint by the wheel.  The buyer can bring this observation to the seller.  If the seller brushes the buyer off, the buyers may want to consider doing a transaction with this buyer.


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