Avoid Being Scammed When Buying a Used Car from an Owner

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How to Avoid Being Scammed When Buying a Used Car From an Owner

Avoid Being Scammed When Buying a Used Car from an Owner

Most private sellers are above board. A few are not. Here are some tips on what to look for to avoid being scammed.

Name Confusion

The practice of buying used cars and then reselling them is called curbstoning. It is not legal.

  • When you buy a used car from an owner, the name on the title should match the name of the person standing before you.
  • Before you go out to see the car, ask if the person you are talking to is the titled owner.

Anonymous Location

  • If the seller wants to meet in a strange location, beware. Although this may just be a safety precaution from a seller that doesn't want to invite several strangers to their home, it could also mean you are dealing with a dishonest person that should not be conducting this sale.

Ask Questions

  • Private used car sellers should be very familiar with the vehicle for sale. If the seller cannot answer basic questions about the vehicle and its history, that may be a red flag.
  • Some questions you might ask include:
    • How long have you had the car (this should be consistent with what is printed on the title)
    • Why are you selling the car?
    • What repairs have been made? Do you have records?
    • What is the current mileage? What was the mileage when you bought the car?



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Joe Wallace