How to Avoid Online Car Auction Scams

It can be difficult to trust a third party when it comes to making a purchase as substantial as a classic, luxury, or exotic car, and the nature of the internet can call every transaction into question in your mind. The best way to proceed is by being armed with the knowledge to avoid online car auction scams and online car buying scams as best as possible. 

How to Avoid Online Car Auction Scams

When it comes to buying and selling cars online, the World Wide Web can feel like the Wild Wild West. A growing scam targeting car sellers with bogus bank checks is putting a dark cloud over the online car sales industry. While most online automobile auctions are perfectly reputable, there are a few bad apples out there. Learn how you can avoid becoming a victim with these helpful tips: 

  • Beware of fake escrow companies 
  • Use certified funds only
  • Ensure buyers and sellers are vetted
  • Be cautious of ‘too good to be true’ pricing
  • Never take the transaction offline

For more information on these ways that you can avoid online automobile auction scam, read on:

Beware of fake escrow companies

Some online car auctions use escrow accounts to hold and distribute funds until the car's title is transferred to the new owner. However, online predators can disguise themselves as fake escrow companies. If you’re considering one, use a trustworthy resource, like the Better Business Bureau, to ensure it’s reputable. 

Use certified funds only

Accept only certified funds in an online car auction, such as cash, wire transfers, and certified checks (cashier’s check). A financial institution has guaranteed these forms of payments, so you can feel more confident that the funds will clear. When you initiate a transaction using personal checks or other forms of non-certified funds, there is zero protection in the event the deal goes bad. 

Ensure buyers and sellers are vetted

Whether you’re buying or selling, you want to ensure that you’re dealing with legitimate people who have genuine intentions of doing business. Ask the automobile auction company you’re using whether they have vetted all parties, so you don’t waste your time dealing with a scam artist.

Be cautious of ‘too good to be true’ pricing

A common automobile auction scam involves deals that seem too good to be true. If the car you're considering buying is undervalued or the seller is offering cash back or other incentives, you should be skeptical. 

Never take the transaction offline

If the buyer or seller asks to take it offline before the transaction is complete – usually to avoid transaction fees – consider it a red flag. Once you remove your dialog from the safety net of a reputable auction platform, there is an increased risk that you could be participating in a scam.

Following these tips will help you avoid online automobile auction scams. To get started buying or selling your dream car on our safe and secure platform today, register as a user today!