Selling a car is a wonderful experience but it has also become a feeding ground for scammers. Keep these tips for personal safety and fraud prevention in mind before you begin to receive calls from potential buyers.
Profile the buyer
Before you agree to show your car or truck in person, you’ll want to screen potential buyers over the phone. This will help to gauge the buyer’s intentions and alert you to any possible warning signs.
Keep the following in mind:
- Trust your gut.
While you’re asking questions, if something seems suspicious, it probably is. Instead of pushing for a quick sale, it’s often better to wait until you find a buyer that you can trust to ensure a smooth transaction.
- Only offer a test drive after you’ve had a phone conversation.
This will not only let you get the basics from the buyer—such as a phone number, name, and address—but you’ll also be able to gauge their interest.
If the buyer rubs you the wrong way or sounds like a person whom you’d rather not deal with, it’s okay to walk away.
- Be cautious with aggressive buyers.
If during the initial phone call the buyer begins to try negotiating before the car is seen, it might be best to turn him or her down. While it’s possible they could be a professional buyer looking to resell for profit, it’s best to avoid these situations all together.
- If you agree to a test drive, get the buyer’s details.
Asking who will be coming for the test drive is an important step for personal safety.
If it’s not the person buying the car or the person with whom you’re speaking with, consider it a warning sign. If additional people show up for the test drive, or if it’s a different person from what you were told over the phone, walk away.
- Ask for a driver’s license before you meet.
If you’re dealing with a criminal, this can be a preventative measure to keep him or her from moving forward.
- State your payment terms.
By being upfront with what forms of payment are acceptable, you can avoid problems or confusion before going any further.
Avoid buyers with too many stories.
Many scams begin with pleas for help or ask you to meet at their own area of interest. In some cases, scammers pose as a bereaved to gain sympathy. Avoid all such requests.
Instead of having a buyer come to your home when you’re alone, meeting in a public place where there are plenty of people is generally safer.
If concerned for your personal safety, have a friend go along on the test drive with you. If this isn’t possible, bring a cell phone and let someone know where you’re going and how long you plan to be gone. Call or text them when you arrive, and when the buyer arrives.
Once the test drive is finished, you’ll still need to negotiate the price and finalize the transaction. To avoid fraud, be sure you:
Secure payment before signing over the title.
If you accept cash upfront get the cash before you transfer ownership. EFT can take days to clear. The easiest and fastest way to complete the transaction is to use the same bank account as the buyer so that the money reflects same time. When money has reflected transfer it to another ban account so that the buyer cannot reverse funds.
Kindly note, not all scam artists are after the vehicle. Block out personal information on vehicle maintenance receipts and vehicle history reports to be safe.
Desh Pillay Bechan