When you sell something and you need to contact a lot of people, chances that someone will try to scam you are always pretty big, because, simply, that’s how some people live. Also, selling something to someone you haven’t met before can be very dangerous, especially when we are not able to check the buyers’ background properly. There are many police reports about stolen cars, the seller being robbed by the client, or in some extreme cases, hurt or killed.
On the other hand, we are never safe from dangerous situations, and selling your used car is not an exception. But, is there any secure way to protect yourself, or at least to decrease the chances of something bad to happen? One of the best choices is to find a reliable peer-to-peer platform, like carsome.id or something similar to that, depending on your location in the world, and place an ad for your used vehicle. That will help the potential clients to find you easily, and since most of these platforms are verified, the chances of fraud are lower than direct sales.
Sometimes, we can’t estimate the chances for scam until we met with the potential buyer, but in some cases, our sixth sense may work after the first line of the conversation. The business is not easy and very often you will need to trust your guts and save yourself from dangerous situations.
Can you be 100% sure that you will avoid these situations? Of course not, because nothing can guarantee that even your dear neighbor is really a good person. But, sure there are some things that you can pay attention to, so you can avoid those situations:
1. Check the buyer’s profile
If they are members of the ads website, you can check their profile and see if they have a history of successful buys and sales. Sometimes, if the situation is unclear to you, you can check their background with the police or local authorities. Check if their email looks trustable because scammers mostly hide behind some weird domains and burning addresses. Insist on exchanging a few messages and calling them, and then arrange a meeting or a test drive. You should be careful all the time, but probably some of these steps will prevent you from getting in a very dangerous situation and be fooled by someone.
2. What paying method they insist on?
Serious buyers will always be ready to pay cash if needed. You can see that someone is trying to scam you if they insist on checks, monthly payments, or they avoid making a contract together with a lawyer. Avoid these possible scams and always insist on signing a legal contract that will prove that you are passing the ownership to the new owner and that they will have to pay the money using the proper method.
3. Carefully choose the place where you meet
If they want to meet somewhere away from the town, far from the people, that should be an alarm for you. Don’t set for that. Serious buyers who are interested in your old car will meet you everywhere, and they won’t have problems to travel to your city or town for that or ask you to bring it close to them. Most of the time, safe zones are the places that are covered with street cameras. Avoid going far from your territory, and invite the potential buyers to come and see the vehicle, so you can set.
4. Avoid weird requirements
The scammers may require you to ship the car somewhere and they will pay after they receive it. We don’t need to say that’s weird by itself and that you shouldn’t do that. Maybe some of them will try to tell you some emotional story and make you believe that they can’t come to check the car. No one is buying anything without seeing it first. Don’t fall for heartbreaking stories and requirements and stick to your way of working when you sell something.
5. They say they will pay online
Some of the scammers come with a story they need to travel soon and that they will pay some amount in advance, and the rest after they get back from vacation. Again, we don’t even need to say and confirm that’s not normal behavior for someone who is ready to buy a vehicle, no matter new or used.
6. They don’t want to meet
If the buyer is avoiding to meet with you, but still says his brother or friend will come to take the car, you should cut the deal and find a more serious customer. No one wants to buy something they’ve never seen, especially no something expensive like a car.
7. They are trying to make you refund some money
You, as an owner, know exactly how much is that car worth. Some buyers will try to ask for a refund because they are overpaid by mistake. Most of the sellers will believe that story and will refund the required amount. Another one common example is calling you after a few days and saying the car was not worth the money. Usually, some “mechanical experts” will confirm that, putting you in a very bad situation. But, you probably know that the car was completely maintained and fixed before you put it on sale, so don’t fall for that. You can always tell them you will call the police if they proceed calling and texting you.
We can never completely protect ourselves from this type of scams, but that is another one reason to be very careful when you sell something, especially your used vehicle, or house, and apartment. People will always try to get that for a lower price, and the true criminals are always ready to get it for free (you understand what we mean). Don’t fall for sad and heartbreaking stories, and you should remember this – if someone needs a car and they desperately want to buy it, they will also have enough money to pay for it.