How to sell a car without getting scammed


Car selling scams have been steadily increasing in recent years, even garnering media attention recently. Using AutoFlip to sell your car will help you avoid these scams, but knowing the warning signs of a scam and taking safety precautions are still good practices to get into when considering how to sell your car online.

Common car selling scams

Many people ask ‘can you get scammed selling a car’? The answer is a resounding yes, as scammers deploy a number of techniques during the sale of a car. It is important to stay vigilant and look out for the following scam techniques.

Buying sight unseen

If a buyer seems eager to purchase your car without first looking at it and taking a test drive, it could be a scam. Scammers may claim they are overseas, busy at work or any other plausible excuse to get out of having to interact with you in person.

Requesting personal information

Scammers are generally not after your car, but rather your personal details. If a prospective buyer asks for your bank account details before seeing the car, it could be a scam.

Bounced cheques

Scammers will rarely offer to pay for your car in cash. If a cheque bounces, and other cheques or attempts at payment also fail to be processed, you can be confident that you are dealing with a scammer.

Solo test drives

Some buyers will want to test drive your car by themselves. This can be with the best of intentions, so they can make an informed decision about the car. However, you can usually ask a genuine buyer to leave a copy of their licence or a valuable possession with you while they have your car. If a buyer does not agree to this but insists on a solo test drive, you may be dealing with a scammer.


While you may see it as a win, payment of more than your asking price into your account is unlikely to be an honest mistake. The more implausible the amount, the more likely it is to have been a scam. 

Warning signs of a scam

When selling a car online, there are several warning signs of a scam that you should be aware of. These warning signs can help you protect yourself against financial or legal hardships over a scam.

Unusual payment methods

Most vehicle payments take place using cash or an electronic wire transfer. If the prospective buyer of your vehicle suggests using cryptocurrency, ensure you have the necessary understanding of the system to confirm whether or not it is a scam.

Rushed sales or a sense of urgency

If a potential buyer wants to hurry the process along, they could be a scammer. They will likely want to close the deal that day and push you for personal information they can use to their advantage.

Inability to inspect the car before payment

Most genuine buyers will want to inspect and test drive your car before purchasing it. If a potential buyer wishes to buy the car quickly and without an inspection, they may be trying to scam you.

Prices that are too good to be true

While they do want to end up taking your car home, most car buyers are also out to earn themselves a good deal. As a result, you will rarely receive your original asking price for your car. People who want to offer you the full asking price without hesitation may not be genuine buyers.

Safety measures when selling online

If you decide to sell your car online, there are several steps you can take to avoid being scammed during the sale.

Meeting in safe zones

Arrange to meet your prospective buyers at a convenient public location, like a supermarket car park. That way, strangers will not know your address until you have met them. Scammers are also far less likely to agree to this than genuine buyers.

Verify prospective buyers’ identity

If you become suspicious of your prospective buyer, ask to see a form of identification. Any hesitancy should be noted, as should any discrepancies with the document they produce.

Avoid unusual payment methods

While cryptocurrencies are popular in some industries, they are still yet to make much of a mark in the automotive world. Some prestige car buyers like to pay using cryptocurrencies, but it is best avoided when selling your vehicle privately.

Listen to your instincts

If something about your prospective buyer makes you feel uneasy, there is nothing wrong with undoing whatever plans have been put in place thus far. Often, a gut feel is what will save you from falling victim to a scam.


When selling your car, it is important to stay alert to any warning signs of scams and take adequate steps to protect yourself online. AutoFlip helps its customers to avoid car sales scams by only dealing with licensed trusted dealers and handling the negotiating on your behalf. This means you can be assured that you will only receive serious offers from genuine buyers. Using AutoFlip also means no strangers having to visit your home. Get in touch with AutoFlip today to sell your car for a competitive price - quickly, easily and safely.