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Craigslist Used Cars

How to avoid car scams on Craigslist

By eHow Contributor avoid car scams on Craigslist

Craigslist Used CarsCraigslist can be a great resource for finding used cars in your area, but unfortunately, thieves and scammers sometimes take advantage of this free Web site. Here are a few precautions you can take to avoid auto scams on Craigslist.

Instructions

  • 1. According to Craigslist, 99 percent of scam attempts on the site can be avoided if you deal only with local sellers. Do not deal with anyone who promises to ship a car from a foreign country or distant location. Craigslist also warns not to wire money or give out your financial information.

  • 2

    The old adage "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, " definitely applies to buying cars listed on Craigslist. Be suspicious of used cars that are priced significantly under Blue Book value.

  • 3

    Another way to avoid car scams is to look up used cars at CARFAX: www.carfax.com. With the car's VIN number, you can purchase a detailed vehicle history report. The report checks for title problems, ownership history, accidents, and service records.

  • 4

    Beware of VIN cloning scams (when a thief copies a VIN number from a car and uses it as the VIN number for a stolen car). Scammers sell these stolen cars to unsuspecting buyers through classified ads or on Craigslist. When police track down the stolen car, the buyer is forced to hand over the car and loses the money paid. To avoid this used auto scam, carefully examine the VIN number on the dashboard, inside the door jamb, and under the hood. Then check the car's title and registration documents for discrepancies. Typos and misspelled words can also indicate a fake document.

  • 5

    Finally, if you are serious about buying a used auto but have concerns about its condition, take the car to an independent mechanic and have it inspected on a lift.

Tips & Warnings

  • When you are buying anything off Craigslist or other Web sites, bring someone with you when you go to look at the item. Likewise, if you are selling something, meet in a public location or have someone with you at your house.

  • Trust your instincts. If something seems off about the car or the seller, do not get involved.

Resources

Original article published on eHow.com

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