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How to Avoid Scammers when Selling your Car Privately

How to Avoid Scammers when Selling your Car Privately

Only a small portion of private sales go wrong but those are the ones that make the headlines. If you don’t want to sell your old car to a dealership and want to sell privately instead, we want to help. Our Vineland auto loan team canvassed our dealerships to come up with some effective ways to avoid scammers when selling your car privately.


Describe the car accurately


While caveat emptor (buyer beware) rules, minimize the chances of scam lawsuits or claims for misrepresentation by being as accurate as you can about the vehicle in your ad.


Make sure everything is 100% correct and take a screenshot of the ad when it’s live. This will minimize the risk of someone trying to claim you misrepresented the car.


Use a private number service


Some web platforms offer a private number service where your phone number isn’t published. Use one if you can. This can avoid a lot of scam calls and follow ups.


If your chosen platform doesn’t offer a private number service, get a burner phone and use that. It’s a cheap and cheerful way to avoid having your real number published on the internet.


Sight unseen


If you receive a call from someone telling you they are serving overseas, working on oil rigs or away for some reason, ignore them. They will offer more than asking price, offer to have the car collected or ask you to pay for the car to be transported and pay you back in the price.


This is a scam that has gone global. If someone is planning to spend thousands of dollars on a car, they would want to see it first, wouldn’t they?




Don’t handle viewings alone. Make sure there is always someone else around when someone comes to see the car. They don’t have to hover over you both but make sure they are visible inside the house or yard or something.


Some people recommend not holding the viewing at your home but many buyers will be suspicious of someone selling a car and wanting to meet somewhere other than your home.


If you have CCTV at home, make sure to get a good shot of the potential buyer as they inspect the car. If you can get a good photo of their license plate, all the better.


Test driving


Always accompany the buyer on a test drive and make sure they are alone. If they want to bring someone with them, take someone with you.


If the buyer asks you to drive first and then switch after a while, remove the keys from the ignition when you stop. A common scam is for you to get out the car to walk around, the buyer to slide across and then drive off.


Taking the keys avoids this.




Cash is still king but also risky. Payment with cash is fine if you go to the bank with the buyer and see them withdraw the money. They can then accompany you to your bank to pay it in.


Bank payments are easiest but can take time. Make sure you don’t let the buyer have the keys until you see the balance appear in your account.


Never accept PayPal, Western Union or other electronic payment are scams are easy to pull off and very common.


We think there is plenty there to help avoid scammers when selling your car privately. Selling your old car to a dealership is even safer!


Contact Unique Chrysler for help, advice and competitive Vineland car finance and leasing.


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