Don’t Get Scammed! Craigslist Can Still be Dangerous for Buying and Selling Cars

Be careful, and don't get taken by one of these scam artists.

Don't Get Scammed! Craigslist Can Still be Dangerous for Buying and Selling Cars
[Photo: TFLcar]
Craigslist can a great place to pick up a used car from a private seller. But, there are still some dangers to buying and selling on the site. We have been trying to sell our 2006 Porsche Boxster using Craigslist, but ran into one such danger this week. Someone tried to scam us, and here’s how he did it.

The Scam

Here is the first email we received:

Hello. Does it have any problems with it? Been in any accidents? I am interested in talking to you, but Craigslist messages are not always reliable with going through? Contact me at the email below:


We replied with a phone number, asking the potential buyer to give us a call. Here is the buyer’s next reply, which is where things really start to get fishy:

Hello, I was reaching out to you about your vehicle for sale. Do you have a current vehicle history report for it? If not, I suggest getting one at: (fake website)

When I was selling my vehicle I could one from there to show people that were intesrested. It was only $19 which is half the cost of Carfax ($40 or more). It will show if there are any issues with it. The peace of mind it gives for such a large sale is a bonus too. It will verify that it has not been in any bad accidents, that it has a clean title and that it has not been stolen. There are so many scams out there. People are more likely to look at it with a report provided – it will definitely help with the sale.


And, it’s a phishing attempt. For those who haven’t heard the term ‘phishing’, it’s when someone pretends to represent a reputable company and tries to entice you with false services so you give up sensitive personal information. That information could include passwords, credit card information and addresses.

In this case, the “buyer” wanted us to go to what is a false website to buy a “vehicle history report”. “But it’s a great deal!”, they claim. It’s peace of mind with a sale, plus…”There are so many scams out there.” You think?

What to do

This attempt wasn’t too subtle. However, it’s still a timely reminder that you need to be careful when using services like Craigslist to sell a vehicle, or anything else for that matter. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of perfectly legitimate sellers on the website. It does help, though, to know how to spot those who aren’t on the level.

Buying a vehicle history report from companies like Carfax can be a little pricey, sure. But it can help to stick with names you know to get that sort of information. Carfax isn’t the only company out there from which to get this information, either. Reputable companies can actually give you a history of the vehicle. You can see how many times the car has changed hands, whether it’s truly been in an accident, and if it has any open recalls. The scam artist purported to provide all the same services for half the cost. If it looks too good to be true, odds are it is.

This “buyer” didn’t end up driving away with our Boxster. However, the Boxster is still for sale. If any of you guys want to check out the listing, you can do so here.

Come back to for more news, views & real-world reviews. To watch our Boxster in action, check out this review below. This video shows just how much new tires can make a difference on your sports car: