5 Ways to Avoid Common Car Buying Scams

Buying a car is an exciting process as well as significant investment. While you want to look for the best deal around, you also want to get the best quality vehicle. When shopping, it is important to be aware and informed so that you can avoid being ripped off. Here are 5 ways to avoid common car buying scams when shopping for your next car.

  1. Be wary of extremely low prices. When a price is too good to be true, you should be skeptical–it’s probably not a good deal. Before shopping you should search the web to get a feel for common car prices for the specific vehicle you want. If a price seems out of character or unrealistic, it likely is. The car dealer may be trying to hide a flaw or issue with the car by pushing it at an extremely cheap price. In addition, some private sellers may give a cheap price and also tell a sad, sob story about a death, divorce, or loss of work to get the car off their hands as well as gain your sympathy, and the money in your wallet.
  2. Next, be cautious if the seller and the vehicle are in two different locations. While this does happen in some legitimate cases, you do need to proceed carefully to make sure you aren’t put in a risky situation. Again, sometimes this is genuinely the case, but in other situations scammers may pretend to be relocating for work, or they may claim to be affiliated with the military. You never want to commit to buying a vehicle that is somewhere else where you cannot see it or inspect it before buying. Never hand over any money before seeing the actual vehicle first to avoid getting ripped off and tricked.
  3. Be careful of 3rd party protection plans. Some car scammers will lure buyers in with promises of a protection plan through a third-party company. Often this is a company that you have heard of or are familiar with. Unfortunately, these companies oftentimes do not offer protection plans to buyers and if they do, plans can only be purchased by the buyer directly from the companies
  4. Next, be aware if something changes in your agreement suddenly or unexpectedly. Often car scammers will ask you to complete the transaction on a different website or change the terms of the car sale that you had originally agreed upon. This is a huge red flag and a sign that you should probably walk away before getting yourself into a sticky situation.
  5. An even bigger red flag to look out for is if the seller wants your money upfront. You should never hand over any money at all until the car is physically and legally in your possession. An honest seller will never ask for money or cash in advance, for you to load a pre-paid card, or use a wire transfer service. Any of these requests are hints that you need to get out now before you get ripped off or robbed.

You need to be aware, informed, and proactive when buying a car. Make sure that any vehicle you buy works properly and can shift in sixth gear. While most salespeople are honest and well meaning, there are others out there who are looking to scam innocent, unaware buyers any chance they can get. Protect yourself from these scams by knowing a fair and reasonable price for the car you want, seeing the car before you buy, knowing the 3rd party protection plans are a hoax, remaining cautious of drastic alterations in your agreement, and never give any money upfront until the car is in your possession. Sticking to these tips will keep you safe and ensure that you get a car at a fair price that is of good condition and quality.