The holidays can be a great time to buy a car, new or used, thanks to year-end sales and the internet makes it even easier to find good deals. You can source everything from car reviews to certified car history reports to price comparisons online. However, this overload of data also allows scammers to easily find and target car buyers as their next victims.
If you're buying from a private seller, always make sure to meet in-person in a public location to view the vehicle. It is smart to see before you buy, but be sure to do it in a safe environment. This gives you a chance to ask questions about the car as well. Ask for the car's maintenance records to confirm the odometer and status. Some scammers may sell cars with fake information. It is possible that the car was salvaged, recalled, or even stolen. You can avoid these scams by checking the vehicle's history report and that the seller's driver's license matches the name on the car title.
Be careful about how you pay as well. Never send money by wiring, PayPal, or eBay. Some sellers may try to convince you that transactions over these sites are guaranteed, however these sites cannot promise that all their users are legitimate. Additionally, do not give a private seller a deposit, because scammers will simply run off with that money.
When making big purchases like a new vehicle, it's always good to double-check everything and stay alert for anything suspicious. Protect yourself and your new car from scammers capitalizing on the holiday season!