The Dangers of Craigslist: What You Can Do To Keep Safe When Selling Your Car Online

There are many horror stories floating around the internet when it comes to selling stuff on Craigslist. From counterfeit money, theft, and murder, dealing with strangers can be risky; therefore, you want to minimize any potential for getting conned or put in danger. Plan and prepare for these private transactions ahead of time, especially when it involves a big ticket item such as your vehicle.

The Dangers of Selling Vehicles Through Craigslist

Despite the best efforts of police to create public meeting spots, Craigslist remains to be a dangerous place to sell your vehicle.  In Texas, two suspects (a man and a teenage girl) have recently been charged in the killing of a father of four looking to sell his 2009 Audi through Craigslist.  A Georgia couple who was murdered while trying to purchase a vintage 1966 Ford Mustang were also recently identified which lead to the arrest of the murder suspect.

In total, over 101 murders have been linked to Craiglist which means your safety should remain a priority if you choose to sell your vehicle online to strangers.

Listing Your Car

When you list your vehicle online, be sure to keep your personal information private. Some people recommend even creating a new email address strictly for the sale. This will deter scammers that may jam your inbox if they get a hold of your email address. Also, be sure to include plenty of details and photos of the car. By including an honest and in-depth overview of your car, it will bring serious potential buyers.

Screening Buyers

The first important step to safely selling your car on Craigslist is thoroughly screening the potential buyer over the phone. They should be eager to chat on the phone and be inquisitive about the car. Not wanting to have a phone conversation could be a red flag. Ask a lot of questions such as what they are looking for and keep notice of anything suspicious. If something doesn’t line up, you are definitely not obligated to meet them.

Meet in Public

As you are ready to meet the potential buyer, try meeting in a public place and bring a friend. Having someone along with you will give you backup and hopefully a ride home after you sell your car. If that’s not possible, let someone know when and where you will be. Public places to meet could be a shopping center or a  municipal building.

Test driving a car is a normal part of the purchasing process, but it can feel a little sketchy when you hand the keys over to a stranger. When it’s time for the test drive, ask the potential buyer for their license and take a picture. Send the copy to a friend by text or email. If something goes awry, you have their information documented.

You don’t have to go along for the ride, but if you do – leave your valuables behind but bring your friend and/ or cell phone. You also may want to give them a spare key instead of your full set when they ride without you. If they decide to abandon the vehicle somewhere on a joy ride, at least you still have your keys.

Keep a firm directive that the test drive will be short with a pre-planned route through a populated area. Fifteen minutes should give plenty of time for them to get the feel of the vehicle. Any detours or additional time spent driving around could indicate a con.

It is important to trust your gut and be on alert when selling your car through Craigslist. During the process, never let anyone inside your home and never sign any papers before receiving payment.  

If you don’t want to deal with the dangers or hassle of selling your car through Craigslist, call  We Buy All Cars in NJ at (856) 834-5558 or fill out our form in the sidebar to get the best quote for your used vehicle.