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How to safely purchase Craigslist used cars online – 6 safety tips to remember when searching Craigslist for cars

One of the biggest worries that many people have when it comes to purchasing a Craigslist used car is becoming a victim of a scam. Every day, news headlines draw attention to scams that are occurring online at the popular Craigslist website. While many of these stories are true, there are several ways to protect you against becoming a victim of an Internet scam. Searching Craigslist for cars can be a great way to save hundreds of dollars but you must always remember to use discretion when shopping online for a vehicle.

Each day, dozens of people are swindled out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars because they carelessly shop online for items on Craigslist. Scammers use various tactics to trick buyers into sending them money without delivering goods. A classic Craigslist scam involves the buyer sending the seller money via Western Union to pay for cost such as shipping or handling costs. Some scammers will out right ask you for the total amount of money up front before the deliver the goods. One of the most well known scams on Craigslist is a seller offering to ship a vehicle from overseas. In fact, this scam is so prevalent that Craigslist has posted a huge warning at the top of their website stating that “offers to ship cars are 100% fraudulent”. They even posted a short article on personal safety tips when it comes to purchasing a used vehicle online.

Within the safety tips Craigslist advises that you deal locally only with folks that you can actually meet in person. There are several other steps that you can take to avoid getting scammed. As mentioned before, you should never send money through Western Union or any other money wiring service. Here are 6 steps that you can use when shopping for a vehicle online to avoid getting burned:

  • Only purchase vehicles that are sold locally. Nearly 100% of the time, a seller that has a vehicle that is located overseas is usually a scam.
  • Never wire money to anyone for any reason. Western Union is a playground for criminals who are looking to make a quick buck off an unsuspecting buyer.
  • Do not give out personal information to anyone online who was selling a vehicle. Never give out your Social Security number, name, address or any other personal information for whatever reason.
  • Pay close attention to the grammar being used when you communicate with the buyer. If you have a buyer that is asking for questionable information and is also using improper grammar, odds are that you are dealing with a scammer.
  • Do not cash any checks and send money back to the seller. This is a very popular scam that has been around for many years now. By cashing one of these checks, you will be liable for the money whenever it is discovered that the check was fake.
  • Above all, use a bit of common sense when purchasing a vehicle online. If something does not seem right it’s best to just walk away. There are plenty of other deals available online and it is not worth the risk of becoming a victim of a scam.

Additional information on this topic can be found by visiting the official Craigslist website and checking out their page on Craigslist scams. Craigslist offers additional advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of a scam.

Shopping for Craigslist used cars can be a fun and exciting way to save money on your next vehicle purchase. When searching Craigslist for cars, never act on impulse and always question anything that does not seem legitimate.

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