skip to Main Content

6 Tips for Selling Your Car (And NOT Get Scammed)

Quickly, safely, and for maximum profit. That is how you want to sell your car, but as seen in the video above there are plenty of shady characters that would like to see the transaction go another way. While the Internet has provided a new level of convenience and a huge expansion of audience when it comes to the purchasing and selling of goods and services, it has also increased the number of scam artists, thieves, and con men who would like nothing more than to take your car and leave you with little or nothing to show for it.

How to Not Get Scammed

The key is doing your research, preparing ahead of time, and remaining diligent through the car selling process. In order to sell your car quickly, safely, and for top dollar, you must remain vigilant and follow these six critical steps to avoid disaster. 

  1. Ask to see ID – While it is feasible that a seasoned scam artist would have a fake ID, it is still important to ask to see identification from the person who is buying the car. Take down all of the information on the license. This one step might seem intrusive, but the information held on that license could prove critical in the event that a check bounces or there are other problems with the sale after the fact.
  2. Provide your own Bill of Sale – While requirements differ from state to state, the Bill of Sale is a standard and legally binding document that is mandatory when selling your car. Beware of scammers who offer to provide their own Bill of Sale, insist on making changes, or requests falsified information. Also, do not write a Bill of Sale to anyone other than the person you’re doing business with.
  3. Only conduct business in person – We’ve all heard about the Nigerian Price who wants to send you billions of dollars if you just wire him a little money in order to take care of the exchange fees. The concept is so absurd that it is laughable at this point. However, scammers run this exact same play when it comes to buying goods online. Beware of offers from an individual out of state, or someone who wants to buy your car totally online. Also, when you do the transaction in person, make sure you are in a safe place and bring someone with you.
  4. Beware of checks and know your counterfeits – It should go without saying that personal checks should be accepted with a high amount of scrutiny and a full set of contingency plans in the event that the check should bounce. However, if accepting money order, bank checks, or even cash – proceed with caution. Scam artists are adept at dealing with a wide variety of counterfeit currency. There are thousands of websites and YouTube videos available to help you identify counterfeit currency. In the event that you suspect false instruments are being used in your transaction, subtly contact authorities. Also, beware fake escrow services. Scammers will often set up fake escrow accounts in order to get your car and keep the money. If you want to use an escrow service, set it up yourself. Bottom line for whatever transaction you agree on, do not hand over your car or sign it over until you’ve confirmed with your bank that the money is safely in your account.
  5. Be smart with the test drive – Offer to meet in a public and open location for the sale of the car, and create a predetermined route for the test drive. Always, always, always, ALWAYS attend the test drive. ALWAYS. Regardless of what the buyer might offer as collateral or how sincere they might seem when they ask to take the car out on their own, never allow an individual to drive away with the car. Ever.
  6. Demand payment in full – You are not a bank. You are not a car dealer. You are not required or obligated under any circumstance to create a payment plan for the car. Regardless of how kind the buyer might seem, or how many contracts they agree to sign, require payment in full for the car and remove any further legal obligation to the buyer, or any further liability for the car.

The ultimate defense when selling your car is your own common sense. If something feels wrong, walk away. There is much to be said for following your gut, especially with a large transaction such as selling a car. Quickly, safely, and profitable. With these tips in mind, you can sell your car in just such a manner.