One of the biggest investments we can ever make is buying and owning a car. Your car has value even after years of driving it. When selling your car though, you need to take some precautions. Take heed when selling your car because there are many frauds and scams that will take your car and leave you with nothing!
Here are some important guidelines to follow when selling your car in order to help you avoid scam artists.
Hints of a Scam
Before you sell your car, it is important to be aware of the kind of scams lurking in the car business. While some fraudsters cheat in very calculated ways that are still hard to grasp, there are some scam methods which are often repeated and are easier to spot.
Popular scam methods include:
- Requesting to purchase a car without a first look
There is hardly anyone who would want to buy a car without taking a look at it first. A thorough look through is essential to ensure the car has no faults. When someone shows serious interest in buying your car without scheduling a meeting to look at the car, then the person is most likely a scam. This often plays out with the buyer sending a fake check.
- Check payments
When selling your car, avoid buyers who want to pay with checks. This is because the check might be fake and if you sign the car title over to the buyer before discovering that the check is fake, you would lose your car and get no money. So be wary of anyone who doesn’t want ‘cash for cars’ transactions.
- Excess payment
This might seem like a very exciting offer but do not be fooled! No one really wants to pay in excess for any goods, cars included. The offer to pay in excess is often a ploy to attract your attention and get you to sell your car without paying much attention to the process. This way the buyer can easily find a way to scam you out of your money.
Tips to help you avoid scams
The fact that there are bad people hanging around to scam you out of your car does not mean that there aren’t people who have successfully sold their cars for a good profit. When selling your car, these tips can help you avoid falling into the hands of scam artists.
- Check the buyer’s profile
Under no condition should you get carried away during the process of selling your car? Pay attention to every detail, no matter how big or small. One of the details to pay attention is your buyer’s profile. You can do this by asking for some information such as the driver’s license and credit statement from your buyer without seeming offensive. Also, ensure you have a one-on-one conversation with your buyer. This can be over the phone or in person. Most scams tend to use chats and emails so as to retain their cover. During your conversation with the buyer, give your instincts the reigns. If your buyer makes strange suggestions or requests that are not part of the regular car buying/selling process, move on to the next buyer.
- Cash for cars
This tip is so important. As stated above, most scam artists offer to pay in check which turns out to be fake. This way after the car title has been signed over to the buyer; you might go to cash your check and then realize you have been scammed. When selling your car, request cash! Counting and collecting your cash before signing over your car title can help you avoid being scammed. If the buyer is insistent on checks, you can take them to the bank and cash the check in their presence before you sign over the car title.
- Avoid buyers with too many tales
A person who is truly prepared to buy a car will do so without wasting time. He/she might even want very little interactions with you. Any buyer who comes to you with too many stories is most likely a scam artist. Too many stories in this context refer to buyers who are not straightforward. For example, the buyer might be requesting some extra favors or might try to gain your sympathy by talking about a dead relative. If you do not know this buyer personally, avoid them.
- Keep documents
During the car sale process, it is essential that you document everything that takes place and keep these documents. If the buyer tries to talk you out of being professional and keeping records, then he/she is most likely a scam. Record phone numbers, emails, addresses and so on. This is very important as it can help you out with investigations if the buyer tries to scam you in any way.
- Conduct transactions in public places
For your own safety, it is important that you conduct your car transactions in public areas – especially when doing so with strangers. You can carry out transactions in areas with cameras and people around. This is because there are people who try to harm car owners and steal their cars. If you want to carry out the transaction in a private area, you can attend the meeting with one or more friends.
When selling your car, make sure that the buyer has paid all the money you agreed upon before signing over the car title. This is because the moment you sign over the car title, you have no more right to the car. Do not let anyone outsmart you. Follow these tips today and find yourself a legitimate buyer for your car!
Lisa Mitchell has been taking things apart ever since she learned about better ways to sell cash for cars in San Diego! She started her writing career at Driveo in 2012 as Content Manager.
(U.S. Air Force graphic by Senior Airman Jarad A. Denton/Released)