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Warning: The Dangers of Buying Cars on Craigslist

by craigscars

Although I’m an avid fan of Craigslist cars, I want to warn you guys about a scam that is going around.  First of all, why are so many people buying cars on Craigslist?

The reason is because vehicles are dirt cheap and it’s often where you can get a bargain on a used car.  However, there are dangers to using this website.  Unlike a car dealership, Craigslist is not governed by state and city rules and it’s up to the participants of the website to keep security over the listings and what happens during the transaction process.

In this world, there are good people, and there are also scumbags.  Many scumbags hide behind fake identities and prey on unknowing victims on Craigslist because it’s easy to lure people outside due to offers that people believe are too good to be true.  Remember folks, if the price of a car is too good to be true, then it probably is.

I once bought a snowboard off of Craigslist in Seattle, WA and the owner of the snowboard invited me into his house.  The snowboard was only $60 and I made sure now to bring any more money with me just in cash something actually did go down.  I also had one of my friends go with me and had them wait outside as I completed the transaction.  Even with my due diligence, I still felt a little uneasy going into a strangers house.  However, the transaction went well and I got a good deal on a used snowboard and boots.

This is how a transaction should go, but sometimes people will try to cheat you on Craigslist and this is what happen to this man.

A man that lives in CA replied to an ad on Craigslist Autos and was told to meet at a specific destination.  When he arrived, he was robbed at knife point and the suspect fled on foot to a getaway vehicle.


Here is the new scam that is occurring on Craigslist.  Fake seller will post an ad for a car.  Faker seller does not even have a car and his intent is to lure the buyer into a secluded location so that he can mug the buyer.  Seller tells buyer to go to said location.  Once the buyer and seller meet up, the seller tells the buyer that the car is parked “just around the corner” in an alley-way or remote location where people cannot see them. Seller robs the buyer and takes off. It’s a simple scam and really preys on people’s trust.  This is what I hate about this scam because it only takes a few individuals to ruin the Craigslist used cars experience for everyone else.

Here are things to ask yourself before meeting any seller

  1. If the price and details of the car are too good to be true, then be skeptical
  2. Does the seller have an actual phone number?
  3. Does the seller want you to go to a remote location?
  4. Is the seller willing to give you the VIN to the car?
  5. Go with your gut feeling

Remember to go to any meet-up with at least one friend, do not bring money on the first meeting, and make sure to do research on the vehicle first before even meeting up with the person.

Also, try to meet during the day and in a location with many people.  This will stop would be thieve from targeting you.

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