Top 3 Most Common Used Car Scams and How to Identify Them


When you’re buying a used car, there are a lot of things you need to watch out for. While the majority of sellers are genuine, unfortunately there are still a lot of scams out there which could see you lose not only a lot of money, but also the car you bought.

Here, well look at the 3 most common used car scams, and how to identify them.

1. Stolen Vehicles

The most common type of car scam is where criminals steal and sell cars for profit. Many buyers have found out the hard way that the used car they bought was reported as a stolen vehicle. Not only have they then gone on to lose that car, but they’ve also lost out on the money they paid after the seller disappeared without a trace.

The best way to identify this type of scam is to ask for a vehicle check prior to buying. You can easily get one through companies such as HPI check, where a quick search will flag any potential issues with the cars ownership.

2. The Deposit Scam

Another common scam to watch out for is if you are asked for a large deposit to secure the vehicle. Fraudulent sellers often make up stories about how they have definite buyers coming to view the car shortly so if you want it you’ll need to put down a deposit. It sounds genuine, but once you’ve handed over a large lump sum, the seller disappears without trace.

The reason this scam works so well is because deposits are a common thing. If you’re buying a puppy, you typically put down a deposit to secure the puppy of your choice until the day you pick them up. If you’re renting a house, you’re asked for a deposit to secure the tenancy. However, in terms of buying a car, you should never have to pay a deposit to a private seller; especially if they’re trying to push you by telling you about other interested buyers.

3. The Clocking Scam

While modern vehicles have made it more difficult for sellers to adjust the mileage clock, it’s certainly not impossible. It’s one of the longest running used car scams and it’s designed to make the car look less used than it actually is. You can easily detect whether the mileage is correct by requesting a service history of the vehicle. It’s best to have this done yourself by an independent company to ensure the seller isn’t lying.

The above are just 3 of the top used car scams to be aware of. Getting appropriate checks such as stolen vehicle and service history checks, is one of the best ways to ensure you aren’t falling victim to used car fraudsters.