Reassura Guide to Car Selling Scams- How to stay safe when selling your car.

Buying or selling a car often involves transferring or receiving a substantial amount of money. Theoretically the internet has democratised the process and the consumer can get better value, however it is also a target rich hunting ground for fraudsters. ActionFraud saw over 42,000 cases reported in 2017 of such online shopping crimes.

Common Car Selling Scams

Car sold unseen scam

Sometimes people will buy a car unseen, but be wary, some fraudsters buy a car, purposefully have an accident and then claim it was damaged at sale and make you pay an inflated price for something that was not your fault.

Online payment scam

Fraudsters agree to buy your car over the phone and agree to make a payment through someone like PayPal. The seller then receives a fake PayPal receipt and allows the car to be collected. Another version of this is when the buyer will claim PayPal is holding the money until you ship the car

“Overpaid” scam

Fraudster sends a cheque, pays online or via bank transfer, seller receives a fake receipt. Buyer then apologies for overpayment and asks you to pay them back the difference. As the original payment was never made the seller would be left out of pocket.

Overpriced scam

Buyer turns up with an “expert” or “paper evidence” that car is overpriced and needs fixing and tries to agree a below market price. Another version of this scam is when the buyer’s friend puts oil into the coolant system which will then create smoke while they distract you. The buyer then lowers the price

Identity theft

Fraudsters insist on a series of personal information potentially including passport number and bank account to make a payment. This information is then used for identity theft.

How to avoid Car Selling Scams

  • If it’s too good to be true – This is one of Reassura’s Golden Rules and it ends with “Then it isn’t. The are no generous buyers
  • Check your bank account – beware of fake receipts and independently check your bank account to make sure payment has been received before transferring ownership
  • Accurately description – Thoroughly and accurately describe the car in your advert
  • Cash is not king – Beware of a buyer with a bundle of cash, always go to your bank with the buyer and ensure the money is not fake and is all there
  • 2 buyers? – If the buyer turns up with a second person always keep an eye on both to see that neither tampers with the car.
  • Receipt details – On the receipt include the words “sold as seen” to protect you from spurious future claims
  • Contact – your bank or credit card company if you have already given out financial details.
  • ID Protection –  If you’re worried about identity fraud and would like to protect your identity contact CIFAS
  • Still Unsure! – Call Reassura 0800 888 6400 our fraud advisors are committed to helping you to avoid fraud.


If you think that you might have been a victim of a Car Selling Scam


Reassura is dedicated to helping raise awareness of scams and fraud and the impact they have on their victims.  Reassura’s team of specialist anti-fraud advisors are on-hand to offer advice designed to help individuals make better informed decisions and avoid the unpleasant consequences of becoming a victim. For further information visit: or call 0800 888 6400

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