Avoiding Scams in Private Car Sales in MA

car-purchasesIf you have a car to sell, you’re probably considering selling it on your own. Most likely, a private sale would earn you more than trading your car into a dealership. However, it comes with some risks. Avoiding scams in private car sales in MA should be something that you actively think about during the process. Here are a few tips.

Marketing Your Car for Sale

There are many free and paid websites that you can use to market your car for sale. Unfortunately, online marketing also leaves you susceptible to scammers. To stay safe, here are a few things you should do in the marketing of your car…

  1. Never publicize your home or work address.
  2. Do not include your license plate in any photographs.
  3. Avoid correspondence with buyers who ask for money back.
  4. Use websites that mask your email address (so that your email is not displayed publicly directly on the website; they route the emails for you).
  5. Beware of buyers who are willing to purchase a vehicle without seeing it first.
  6. Beware of buyers from overseas.

Meeting with Potential Buyers

Once you identify potential buyers, there are a few additional safety precautions to take:

  1. Always meet  buyers in a public location.
    Note: Some police stations offer a designated area in their parking lot for conducting such meetings.
  2. Always meet during daytime hours.
  3. Ask for identification before you allow someone to take your vehicle for a test drive.
  4. Never meet with a potential buyer alone.

A Common Scam

One of the most common scams is a buyer emailing you and claiming to have a check for more than the sale price. For example, if your car is being sold for $10,000, they may say they have a check for $15,000 that they will give to you, but they need you to give them back the $5,000 difference. Although the original checks may appear legitimate, they are often reported as fraudulent later. At that point, you will have lost both the car and the additional $5,000 that you paid out. These cases can be difficult and costly to solve.

Avoiding Scams in Private Car Sales in MA

Most of the time, there are multiple red flags that a buyer is trying to scam you. In your attempt to sell your car, you may be inclined to ignore some of these signs. Ultimately, this could cause you both financial and emotional hardship. Be careful about the personal information that you post online and any meetings that you schedule. Don’t ignore your instincts if something doesn’t seem right. Lastly, when you do find a legitimate buyer, be sure not to accept personal checks as payment. With some caution, you can safely conduct private car sales in ma and avoid scams.