How to spot Craigslist car sales scams

How to spot Craigslist car sales scams
How to spot Craigslist car sales scams

Craigslist can be of great help in finding used cars around you. In some cases, like when you are looking for a specific model of car, it is tempting to buy it in another region or even another country. Now, when you are looking for a car for sale on Craigslist outside of your area, you should be able to recognize the signs that it is a potential scam.


Spot Car Scams on Craigslist Step 1

Step 1. Look for cars with a surprisingly low price

Most car scammers will try to sell you cars at a ridiculous price, either to get a lot of people to click on the ad or to make it seem like a golden opportunity to you.

  • Visit to familiarize yourself with the value of cars and the precise price of specific cars based on their age. For more help, you can get in touch with your local car dealer or visit those dealers' site.
  • Be especially careful if a luxury car is on sale for an excessively low price.
Spot Car Scams on Craigslist Step 2

Step 2. Carefully examine the photos to determine their authenticity

Many scammers will post already used photos on another site.

  • Ask the seller on Craigslist if they can send you more pictures of the car. If he can't give you more or if he's looking for an excuse to say he doesn't have physical access to the car, it could be a scam.
  • Click on the links that show the image of the car in your Google image search engine or on image hosting sites. Most sites will give the number of hits on a photo. If the photo has been viewed a very high number of times, the seller may be recycling a photo and trying to defraud you.
Spot Car Scams on Craigslist Step 3

Step 3. Find the list of cars posted from a foreign country

Some Craigslist scams will base themselves in other countries so that the seller cannot be sued even if they are caught.

If the post is from another country, the seller will most likely mention the means of transport to deliver the car and offer to take care of the associated charges

Spot Car Scams on Craigslist Step 4

Step 4. Look for ads that include the seller's personal situation

Some crooks will give very specific private details about their situation or why the car is being sold at such a low price, such as a divorce, a military deployment or a relocation or even the death of a family member.

Spot Car Scams on Craigslist Step 5

Step 5. Look for Ebay user credentials

Some sellers will take advantage of the Ebay name as it is recognized worldwide, however, Ebay does not associate with or protect any transaction on Craisglist.

If you have an Ebay account, look around to see if the seller is actually selling a car. It is possible that the seller is genuinely trying to sell a car and has posted the ad on Ebay and Craigslist

Spot Car Scams on Craigslist Step 6

Step 6. Examine the payment methods

Some sellers ask you to wire money. Scammers will often use Western Union or other similar services that are untraceable.

Do not give out personal information about your finances, such as your account number and bank details, your PayPal account or your social security number. The scammer could use this information to defraud


  • Buy cars that you have seen in person or tested. This can make sure that you are not the victim of a scam.
  • Look for listings where sellers are actively available who will be able to deliver your car to you, those who offer to keep your money as collateral until you receive the vehicle, plus a 5 day period for you to retract.

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