The Craig’s List Car Scam

craigslist car scam 3 300x200 The Craigs List Car ScamI sold my Acura RSX last year on Craig’s List. It was great because you get a lot of local people looking at your ads and when you’re selling a car, that’s definitely what you want. Another benefit is that it’s free to place an ad on Craig’s List. Along with that, I got a bunch of crazy calls that, at first, got me excited but then I realized it was too good to be true.

Use Your Brain

When posting something on Craig’s List, you have to be smart. Sure, there are a lot of good transactions that take place (people buying other people’s stuff) but you also can easily expose too much information about yourself if you’re not thinking about it.

The golden rule I use for anything online – be it Facebook, Twitter, a website or whatever is that whatever you put online essentially stays online. You can never be sure where your information goes. There could be someone sniffing traffic (yes, that’s an actual name for a hacker method) or people trying to stalk you or whatever. Just be very careful about what you put on any website. That’s the first rule, Craig’s List aside.

For example, when posting a phone number, I never use my own number. I go over to Google Voice and get a free phone number there. You can have it forward to your phone or to voice mail or text. Once you’re done with your sale, you can throw that number away or use it later on.

Even when you meet someone to test drive the car, you might want to meet at a store parking lot or something so that people don’t see where you live – although your address might be on the car’s title… at least there’s no option for them to step inside your house to use your bathroom or sign something, etc.

There are stories about people being robbed when trying to sell something on Craig’s List – do be one of those stories and use your brain.

At some shopping malls and store parking lots, there are surveillance cameras. They can be your friend in this instance and catch a picture or whomever comes to meet you. Just make sure you give the store some business while you use their private property in case you do end up needing their help.

Watch for Bogus Offers

Used Car Selling Scams / Buyer Scams

It might be exciting to start getting offers on your car but if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. For example, you might hear someone asking if the car is still for sale – that’s usually what they ask first. Then they offer you a price without coming by to look at it. They usually give you some sort of story how they were in the Armed Services or are not in town and they want you to ship the car or something. They might even offer you more than what you’re asking for, too.

Say no to these offers!

Don’t fall for them. It’ll get into this whole big thing where they wire you money and then it’s too much and you have to send some back or whatever and then you find out it’s fake or bogus. Save yourself the trouble and only sell your vehicle to someone who comes by to test drive it and check it out.

cash money 300x199 The Craigs List Car ScamOnly Accept Cash

I keep it simple and only accept cash. I did take a bank check on a car last year but that made me nervous. You are best off just accepting cold, hard cash. You can’t really go wrong there.

I also take a copy of their driver’s license and I have a Bill of Sale document that I have them sign (and have a copy for them, too).

The Used Car Dealer on Craig’s List Scam

This one is more for people buying cars but I thought I’d mention it.

Some people are reporting how used car dealers will try to sell cars as private citizens on Craig’s List. You’ll find a car and everything will look like it’s a private citizen but it’ll actually be a dealer. The problem here is that they bypass the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and state laws regarding how dealers can’t sell “lemons” and have to get the car up to certain standards, etc.


Scams on Craig’s List work both ways – for people buying and selling. Remember this as you sell your car there. You want to watch for scammers and yet make buyers feel comfortable that you are for real, too. If something doesn’t seem right, then trust your gut and back out… another buyer will be by shortly, just wait. It’s better to wait for the right buyer than take a chance and have it not swing in your favor. The thief buyer will probably also move on to try the next person, so it’s better you both just part ways.

Thanks for reading. Please leave comments if you have them and be sure to pass on/share this article with your friends!

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