Privately selling your used car can be risky. Here’s how to avoid possible scams

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — We’re all looking for deals and when it comes to used cars and criminals know that.

Since the pandemic began, there’s been a proliferation of online scams involving used cars.

There are thousands and thousands of used cars out there, but sometimes we’d rather not buy from a dealer and instead do it ourselves online and that’s where you can get into trouble.

“If there’s a story that tries to pull at your heartstrings that’s a big red flag, said Alyssa Parker of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina.

And that’s exactly what happened to Bonnie Evans who was looking to buy a Jeep.

She told CBS News how she was scammed.

“She gave me this story that her husband recently died unexpectedly of a heart attack, and she couldn’t bear to look at it,” Evans said.

Then the clincher came with the price.

“She came back and said, ‘I’ll even let it go for a thousand dollars instead of two’ “

The seller even offered Evans an eBay money back guarantee.

“That looked so professional that I was like okay, well this does look legitimate,” she said.

But, the so-called seller wanted the payment in eBay gift cards and that was a red flag.

Here are some other red flags and don’ts that tell you an online deal is sketchy:

  • Never wire money or use a bank-to-bank transfer (once the money is sent, it’s gone.) 
  • Don’t buy a car from someone who is unable or unwilling to meet you face to face. 
  • Never buy a car you’ve not seen in real life and had inspected by a professional. 

The BBB said the scammers don’t just use eBay.

“It can be a number of different websites,” said Parker.

She said authorities have tracked many of these scams to overseas locations.

“It’s Romanian organized crime–not just a one-time scammer,” she said. “It’s a large operation that’s really affecting a lot of people and millions of dollars are lost to this.”

The scam doesn’t just involve automobiles. RV’s, ATV’s and even farm equipment has lent itself to this scam.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Click here for full list of trending stories