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Autos Safety Tips

  • Never wire money or use a bank-to-bank transfer in a transaction.
  • Always try to deal locally when buying or selling an automobile or other high-value merchandise
  • Do not sell or buy a car from someone who is unable or unwilling to meet you face to face.
  • Never buy a car that you have not seen in real life and had inspected by a professional. A vehicle history report may also be a good idea, though scammers have been known to use fake vehicle identification numbers to defeat this countermeasure.
  • Wait until a check (personal, cashier’s, certified, or otherwise) has cleared the bank to transfer title or the car itself. Funds being made available by a bank DOES NOT mean the check is not counterfeit. Clearing a check can take days or weeks depending on the financial institutions involved. Check with your bank about their particular processes for clearing checks.
  • Never trust a seller or buyer who says that the transaction is guaranteed by eBay, Craigslist, PayPal, or other online marketplace. These sites explicitly do not guarantee that people using their services are legitimate.
  • Beware sellers or buyers who want to conclude a transaction as quickly as possible. Scammers want to get your money before you have time to think or have a professional examine the deal.
  • Call the buyer or seller to establish phone contact. If the buyer or seller seems to neglect details agreed to via e-mail or is unable to answer questions about their location or the location of the automobile in question, it is likely to be a scam.
  • Always trust your gut. If a deal feels "fishy" or sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Plenty of people use online classified ads to buy and sell cars every day. The vast majority of these transactions are legitimate and go smoothly. Losing out on a "great" deal in order to work with someone you trust could save you big in avoiding a possible scam.
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