Tips to avoid fraud when buying a car online

| Jun 10, 2021 | Consumer Protection |

A growing number of consumers are looking online to shop for used cars. While the online marketplace offers both convenience and competitive pricing, it may increase the likelihood that car buyers will not get what they bargained for.

If you are shopping for a used car online, you should do some due diligence to protect yourself. Here are some important steps that car buyers can take.

Do not attempt to make a deal with a seller who will not speak to you

If a seller is inaccessible by phone, it should be a red flag. If people claim to be too busy with work to speak, it should seem unlikely that they would be able to facilitate the sale of a vehicle.

Exercise an abundance of caution if you are buying a car without seeing it

Buying a car sight-unseen has many inherent risks. If you pursue this type of sale, try to obtain independent verification of a car’s condition.

Investigate an escrow company before transferring funds

If a seller insists on using a particular escrow service, it may be cause for concern. Ask to use another service that you know to be reliable. Be sure that the service a seller suggests is legitimate by accessing it on your own rather than through a link that a buyer provides.

Unfortunately, the online marketplace has been a forum for rampant fraud against consumers. There is no way to guarantee the legitimacy of every representation that a seller makes. However, you may be able to avoid unpleasant surprises by verifying as much information as you can.