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How to Guard Yourself Against Car Sales Fraud

We want to make sure you have the knowledge necessary to utilize our site properly for everything from negotiating to financing to leasing to resale, whether with a dealer or not, in order to become your trusted counsel regarding the life cycle of your car. All businesses must constantly fight internet fraud, and at Cars.com, we take seriously our position as a reliable content source in the automobile industry.

Although the vast majority of vehicle postings and queries on Cars.com are legitimate, we work to ensure that our clients are aware that some people utilize the website for questionable ends. These people will list cars on Cars.com just to con prospective purchasers out of their money. In a similar way, they might get in touch with one of our trustworthy vendors and say they’re interested in buying cars so they can swindle the seller.

We wish to guarantee that all of our clients always use prudence and good judgment. Don’t let yourself become a victim; take the actions we recommend below to help protect yourself against fraud before the transaction and discover more about how Cars.com functions. A transaction or activity that seems too good to be true is probably true.

Suggestions for Buyers

  • Sellers who won’t meet up in person should be avoided.
  • If the seller only wants to be reached by email or text, proceed with care.
  • If the vendor declines or claims they are unable to speak on the phone, proceed with extreme caution.
  • Before you pay to complete a sale, if at all feasible, get a mechanic along with you to check out the vehicle.
  • If the seller specifies that the vehicle must be shipped or is not actually in their possession right now, proceed with caution.

Steer clear of listings that seem too good to be true.

  • Advertisements for well-known SUVs and sports cars that are half as expensive as they should be are usually invariably tricks utilized by con artists. Before replying to a questionable listing, use a price comparison tool to get a rough estimate of how much an automobile is worth.
  • Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Fraud Prevention Department if you have any concerns about any ads on Cars.com. You can reach us at 888-780-1286 or [email protected]
  • Use extreme caution when sending deposits or payments made with gift cards, Western Union, MoneyGram, PayPal, Bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies.
  • The best way to buy an automobile is face-to-face and in a well-lit area. If you must transfer money, be sure, though, that you first confirm the recipient account by getting in touch with the bank directly.
  • We never advise doing business with a car vendor or dealer from abroad. Sending money overseas in any way almost certainly means losing it all. Because the money may be transferred instantaneously and anywhere in the world, Western Union and MoneyGram are popular for internet frauds.
  • Please be warned that scammers could create phony escrow services in an effort to dupe customers. We advise doing extensive online research on the service and consulting the state licensing body that the company has obtained a license from before you decide to use any escrow service.

It should be noted that a prevalent trend in online fraud involves a phony vendor demanding payment using gift cards from well-known retailers or websites. Please stop communicating with any sellers that suggest paying through this method and send an email to [email protected] instead.

Learn About a Vehicle’s History

  • Think about getting a car history report from a company like Carfax. Vehicle history records can be a useful tool to discover significant issues or flaws, general location, and more, even though they may not always include all the details about a used automobile.
  • If the vendor is unable or unwilling to give the VIN or a copy of the title, this may be a sign of auto fraud.

Suggestions for Sellers

Local business is best

  • Dealing in person, face to face, is the most secure and advised course of action.
  • If the buyer only wants to contact by text or email, proceed with care.
  • Avoid dealing with buyers who claim to live abroad or who are already abroad.
  • If the buyer declines or claims they are unable to speak on the phone, proceed with extreme caution.

Steer clear of convoluted payment methods

  • You are in charge if you are the one selling. Always indicate your chosen mode of payment, and be wary of lengthy payment procedures.
  • Pay attention when using prepaid debit or gift cards in transactions.

It should be noted that one type of internet scam involves the perpetrator giving you a cashier’s check for more money than the automobile was purchased for and asking you to return the extra money back to them through wire transfer, gift card, or some other method. The majority of the time, these cashier’s checks are fake, and your bank will hold you accountable for any damages sustained.

Check Payment

  • Before the buyer’s check clears or you otherwise get full payment for your vehicle, do not transfer the title of your car to them.
  • Never take a cheque that is for more than you requested.
  • Any cashier’s or certified check’s legitimacy should always be confirmed with the bank that issued it.
  • If you intend to contact, do not rely on the phone number printed on the check; instead, find up the issuing bank’s number on your own. The routing number, account number, and name on the account may all be verified by the bank. The issuing bank will even check to see if there are sufficient funds to cover the specified sum.

Phishing Scams

Be cautious if you get texts or emails that contain links. These links are frequently used by scammers in an effort to direct you to a phony Cars.com website. Your login information will be obtained with the intention of using your account to post false listings. To avoid becoming a victim of them, we advise adopting the following steps if you receive an email with links in it:

  • Verify the “from” address to make sure it is authentic.
  • Don’t click on the links; simply hover over them. The URL that the link will take you to will typically be displayed in a little pop-up message when you hover over it. Do not click the link if something appears strange.
  • Examine the grammar and salutation. It is more likely that an email is fraudulent if it is unclear (e.g., “Hello, Valued Customer”) or has poor grammar.

Although the aforementioned auto fraud awareness measures ought to offer some defense against phishing scams, there is no way to completely ensure an email’s veracity. The safest course of action is often to bypass all links and go straight to Cars.com on your web browser. Please feel free to send anything that causes you to hesitate or anything you believe to be suspect to [email protected]

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