Avoiding Craigslist Scams
Craigslist Car Scam:
Many people use Craigslist and other online sites to sell their cars. Unfortunately this can be a big COME AND GET ME sign for scammers. The Craigslist scam artist is waiting for you. When you put your car up for sale never use your real phone number, email, or home address on the information you give. In fact casual buyers whether in person or on the web should never be given the opportunity of seeing the vehicle title until there is a real commitment to buy and the money is on the table. The vehicle title has all your personal information and should be saved for the last minute. I'm not saying that if someone asks you if you have clear and legal title that you should dance around the issue. No! You answer any reasonable questions about the title, but the actual seeing, holding, touching of the title is only for the serious buyer not any random scammer.
Since I already discussed this in another post I wont go into great details but I will reiterate a few item just to keep this mater clear in your minds. This time I want to look at it from the point of the Seller.
To avoid scams when selling your car:
* Meet the buyer in a public place with lots of traffic.
* Never meet at night. You wouldn't be the first person to be hit over the head and shoved in the trunk while the perp takes off with you and the car. Eventually you will suffocate and are more manageable and easily disposable out in the woods, forest, etc.
* Never meet the buyer alone. Have someone follow you there in another vehicle and with a cell phone ready to call 911. Have them stay out of site but able to see you. The buyer doesn't need to know where your friend is this way they (your friend) can follow you on a test drive and make sure everything goes according to plan. Why do you think at every car dealer when you go for a test drive they photo copy your drivers license and leave it behind at the dealership. Cars do get stolen from test drives.
* Never show up with title in hand. Just too easy, I think you can figure this one out. If the buyer wants you to take the title make sure you leave it with your buddy in the other car.
* Never accept as payment a cashiers check, money order, or anything other than cash. Cashiers checks, and money orders can easily be forged and you can loose the car and the money.
Another scam is where they over pay for the car or give you a third party check. They over pay for the car and later ask you to pay them back because they made out the money order to the wrong amount. If you do so you are an idiot! They will take the car, the money, and the money order will eventually prove to be fraudulent.
What about third party checks?
Buyer says, "I have a check from my work, (friend, neighbor, insert your favorite term here), and I want to buy your car with that and the remainder I'll pay cash". This is done to convince you that they are honest. This way they can get a car for just a couple of hundred bucks total since the fraudulent check they just gave you is worth $0. The really brazen ones with have a third party check that is for more than the car is worth (see above money order scam). For example it's their paycheck but it's for $500 over the agreed price of the car. So they sign their paycheck over to you and you pay them the overage money. It's a bogus check even if it looks legit. Even if it has a legit company name like Xerox, Boeing, Staples, (insert your favorite company name here). Never accept a third party check. If you fell for this scam you just PAID some guy to steal your car. Wow, if you hadn't read my article you might have fallen for that. What a sucker you would have been!
Even for legitimate transactions always get a receipt and document the transaction to protect yourself and the other person if they are legit.