What We Can Learn From Sarasota's Recent Craigslist Car Buying Scam

CarsArrive | Cars , Buying

To date, approximately 18 million cars each year are sold on the internet, coming from sites such as Carvana, eBay Motors, and sometimes even Craigslist.

But if you're not careful, you could be setting yourself up to be scammed.

As of July 23, police in Sarasota, Florida issued a warning for a Craigslist buying scam, reporting that three incidences have recently occurred.

In the most recent case, a woman claimed that she needed to sell her 2004 Ford Expedition due to her impending employment overseas. The victim contacted her, and the woman asked her to wire over $2000 as soon as possible. As soon as the money was wired, all traces of the woman disappeared from the internet, leaving the victim $2000 short and without a car.

So far, the perpetrators have thoroughly covered their tracks, and no suspects have been named.

As unfortunate as the situation is, the truth is, these kinds of situations can be avoided with care, common sense and diligence. Buying a car online is both a common and widely accepted practice, particularly used cars. In fact, in its Annual Auto Survey for 2015, Consumer Reports advocated the purchase of used cars to save money. Along with this, statistics tell us that generally speaking 44% of individuals say that they would be willing to buy a car online.

Whether used or new, to ensure that the car you are purchasing online is the Real McCoy, make sure the following checks out:

  • Check the price.

If the car's selling price is unbelievably low, this is often telling of a scam. If it seems too good to be true, after all, it probably is.

  • Take your time.

Buying a used or new car should be a well thought out decision. If a seller is trying to rush you, view it as a major red flag.

  • Know the distributor.

While transactions on Craigslist aren't always a scam, it is always safest to purchase through accredited sellers and dealerships. The same goes for auto shipping. Interstate car transactions occur frequently; in fact, USA Today reports that 75% of all eBay Motors purchases were interstate. Going through a trusted, well-rated vehicle shipping company is the best way to guarantee that your new or used automobile is safely transported.

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