Most people who are unfamiliar with buying a FSBO car want to know “How do I buy a car on craigslist without getting scammed?” The biggest challenge to overcome is to disregard all of the naysayers who believe that it is not safe to buy a car online. While there is an inherent risk associated with using this method of car shopping, the reward far outweighs the risk and the issue is not as prevalent as most believe. Buying a car by private seller can be a fun and rewarding experience if you exercise a bit of common sense and do your research. It is those who blindly rush into purchasing a car who end up becoming scammed out of hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Here are a few tips that will get you started on your used car shopping adventure.
Deal with you local community
The biggest scammers out there don’t even live in your community. In fact, they most likely live another country such as South Africa. These people spend their days behind the computer trying to trick others into sending them money. While I could easily write a book on all of the scams out there that I have encountered, they all involve giving money prior to receiving the goods. Once again, a little bit of common sense goes a long way when it comes to avoiding this obvious scam. Its simple – never give money to anyone until you meet them in person and are ready to complete the transaction. Refuse to hand over any money no matter how good their story is. These scam artists are often very convincing and con people out of their money every day.
Don’t cash any checks
The check cashing scam has been around for a while now and is still being used today. Someone sends you a $5,000 check; you cash it, and send them $2,500 then keep $2,500 for yourself. Sounds like you have nothing to lose? Wrong. These are fake checks and when they don’t clear you are stuck owing your bank the money. This issue has become such a problem that many banks are now posting notices on the window making customers aware that they may be involved in a check cashing scam. Think about it, why would someone send you a check and then pay you just to cash it.
Avoid sending money on Pay Pal or Western Union
This one is a no brainer. Many people are fooled into wiring someone money in exchange for something such as a used car. This is never a good idea and almost always results in disaster. For instance, someone is offering tickets to a popular sporting event at a discounted price. They claim that they normally sell their tickets on Ebay but are new to the whole Craigslist thing. They send a link to an eBay profile that has outstanding reviews and claim that it is theirs. Feeling confident, you wire them $500 for these tickets. Next thing you know they disappear into the night and you are out your money and still have no tickets.
Watch out for deals that are too good to be true
Often times, a scam can be easily spotted by simply understanding that if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is not a deal. Did you find someone who is willing to sell their 2 year old VW for $2000? If so, you probably have encountered a scammer. They will often make a beautiful post that looks legit and offer their car at an extremely low price. This will draw in hundreds of responders and out of all of these people 1 or 2 may be stupid enough to fall for this scam. Shop for cars that are priced reasonably and you can avoid this potential downfall.
Check for grammar
Now, most of us have grammar that is far from perfect as we make occasional spelling mistakes. One dead giveaway is an advertisement that has numerous grammar errors and was obviously written by someone who speaks broken English and is trying to put together a scam. This combine with any of the above mentioned is a good indication that someone is about to pull the wool over your eyes.