How to Avoid Car Scams On Craigslist

If you are planning to purchase a used car, Craigslist is one of the best places to start looking for one. However, you need to be extra careful when closing a deal for something that was advertised on Craigslist. This is important with the passage of time; more and more Craigslist scams are being reported. Scammers may try to entice you into buying a car that is not worth the price that you pay or is stolen. However, if you are careful enough, there are various ways in which you can avoid car scams in Craigslist.


  • 1

    The best way to avoid a car scam on Craigslist is to deal with a local seller. Avoid dealing with a seller on some offshore location because if it turns out to be a scam, you may not be able to litigate even. Even if you decide to deal with an offshore seller, hire a lawyer having operations in the area in which the seller resides and authorise the lawyer to close the deal on your behalf.

  • 2

    Never get involved in a car deal which sounds too good to be true. If a car is significantly under valued, there are high chances that the seller is trying to trick you into buying a car with a major technical fault.

  • 3

    Ask the seller for the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Use the VIN number to get a detailed report of the used car that plan to purchase. Use an online service such as CARFAX. The reports will cover aspects such as the vehicle’s accident history, service records and ownership history. If you see anything suspicious, simply consider it to be a scam and back out of the deal.

  • 4

    A thief may be using another car’s VIN in order to sell a stolen car. To avoid this type of scam, you will have to give the car a thorough look. Examine the VIN number inscribed on the dashboard and under the car’s hood. Make sure that the VIN number has not been tampered with.

  • 5

    Check the car’s documents and ensure that the documents are not forged. Misspelled words and typos are a common indicator that the document under examination is forged.

  • 6

    As a final option, take the car to a mechanic before finalising the deal. Ask the mechanic to give the car a close look so that you can be sure that there are no major problems with the condition of the car.

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