“Yeah, it’s really easy to get scammed,” says Benjamin Dykstra from Vehicle Hero.
Back in the 1950’s Willie Sutton robbed banks across the United States and when a reporter asked him why, Willie gave the most honest answer he could think of:
“Because that’s where the money is.”
Scammers, cheaters, and con artists flock to the private automotive sales market for the same reason. There’s a lot of money to be made, a lot of cars to be bought and sold, haggled and dickered over. The world’s a target-rich market.
If Willie Sutton were stealing cars from private car sellers today, he would at least have to meet you at your house or a nearby shopping center to rob you, but technology in place today allows those with bad intentions to scam you, take your money and ruin your life from halfway around the world.
There are many hidden dangers of selling your car yourself, and there’s no 100% sure proof way to spot a scammer. They do this for a living, and a lot of them are really good at their jobs.
What you can do is take precautions.
Let’s break down some tell-tale signs of schemers and gives consumers tips on how to trip up the tricksters.
One red flag that’s easy to spot, but still gets waived more often than you’d expect is scammers asking to skip some paperwork, leave a couple of lines here and there blank. Maybe they say they’re trying to save a little on taxes and fees. A More likely explanation is that they are trying to leave the title open so that they can avoid ever being connected to the sale. Worse case they’re up to no good, and now they’ve got your car, still titled in your name to use for the getaway.
If anyone ever asks you to sign an incomplete legal document, fudge any factual information, or skip any needed parts of the titling and registration paperwork, it may be best to skip the whole thing.
The best way to thwart any scammer is to ask more questions. A lot of the scammers may have all the right answers. Ask them anyway. Ask them again. Ask the right questions. Ask some of the wrong questions just to throw them off their game. The more questions you ask, the more likely the scammers will trip up, forget the first lie they told you, and tell a brand new lie in its place.
Even if they have all the right answers, there’s one nearly surefire way to make sure the person you’re attempting to sell your car to isn’t trying to take your car, your money, or your identity.
“Certainly I’d advise anybody who is going through this process to read reviews and ask the opinions of others because good companies have good reputations,” says Dykstra.
That’s probably the main reason why now is the best time in history to sell your car yourself and protect yourself from financial or physical harm.
You have in the palm of your hand a magical device that puts the sum total of all human knowledge at your fingertips including knowledge about whoever is trying to purchase your vehicle.
See if there are legitimate social media profiles for the people you’re dealing with. Is there a website? Ask around with your social media contacts to see if anyone else has had a pleasant experience dealing with them.
And read the online reviews.
If there’s not any social proof that says the people you’re talking to are who they say they are and will do what they say they will do. If you can’t find any proof, that’s a good sign that maybe this isn’t who you want to be doing business with
The car dealers in the Vehicle Hero network are among the most respected, most referred, and most well-reviewed businesses in the automotive industry. You’ll be able to find plenty of happy customers saying nice things about them.Back to all posts