Car Buying Scams That Could Cost You Thousands

September 30th, 2011
UsedCar Salesman

Drivers beware! There are dozens of car buying scams that are circulating the Internet scamming thousands of people out of money. With the economy in a weakened state and over 9 percent of the United States unemployed, people are developing scam tactics to make large amounts of money quickly.

Car buying scams have been around for a long time, starting with used car dealerships or car salesman selling vehicles that have been cosmetically fixed but there are internal problems the salesman do not disclose in the selling of the vehicle. With the development of online shopping and transactions, people started listing vehicles for sale through classifieds such as

But as developers and scammers become more integrated and creative, they develop new and easier ways to scam people out of millions of dollars. Scammers have moved on to develop, and like sites that are tricky consumers into purchasing vehicles online through what they believe to be safe sites but are in fact imitation sites that are built to scam consumers.

Common Car Buying Scams

Altering Details

Buying and selling of vehicles in a private transaction can force a consumer to trust the seller is not lying or altering information, but unfortunately sellers have changed a vehicles information to get more money out of the consumer. Sellers have rolled back the odometers to change the value of the vehicle. Sellers have also repaired severely damaged vehicles and driven it across state lines where a new title is issued, in an attempt to mask the history of the vehicle. This has become growly popular with recent flooding across the United States. Many insurance carriers consider a vehicle to be totaled once a vehicle is flooded or completely submerged underwater to the point where the vehicles parts begin to break down and rust.

Scam that Pulls on the Heart Strings

Scammers are intelligent in causes where they prey on individual’s emotions by telling an emotional story as to why they need to sell their vehicle in a pinch. They may say they are being deployed, there is a family death, there was an illness in the family and they are in need or cash or that there was a job loss in the household.  Although, there are instances where these situations can be true, commonly scammers use these types of circumstances to convince buyers to make a quick purchase to help out the seller.

Shipping Scam

On sites such as, buyers are placing classified advertisements out for vehicles that are listed at an excellent price, sometimes half the price of what it books for, in an attempt to make a quick sale. The seller will put photos of the vehicle and a cut priced amount. When the buyer makes the decision to purchase the vehicle at the wonderful price, the buyer will ask a deposit to hold the vehicle, and then never ship the vehicle.

Photo Scams

Consumers are getting dooped into buying a vehicle online based on the description of the vehicle and photographs, and if the vehicle does arrive at their door they find the vehicle to not fit the description or the picture is much out of date. Scammers can have old photos of the vehicle or pictures of the stock vehicle and advertise the picture, as the vehicle the buyer will receive.

Timing Pressure Scam

In buying products online, sometimes the buying process can work as an auction or gambling task. When you find a good deal on a vehicle online you have to act fast or the vehicle could be gone in hours. Once a consumer calls on a vehicle, the scammer will make them feel pressured and rushed to make a decision due to a high volume of interest. Scammers attempt to make statements such as there is someone on the way to purchase the vehicle now or first one to wire me funds will have the vehicle, and in the end they will not sell the vehicle or may not actually own the vehicle.

Buying a vehicle is a tedious process and takes time and research. If you are considering a vehicle online keep in mind, if it sounds too good to be true, it is most likely a scam.

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