Buying a car can be an uncomfortable experience, especially if you have never purchased a vehicle before. The process itself is a little unnerving, but what makes it worse is the possibility that you could get scammed.

However, despite crackdowns by the government and greater awareness of scam operations thanks to the internet and other sources, there are still scammers out there who will sell you a junk car or a very overpriced one.

Fortunately, spotting a scam is really not all that difficult if you know what to look for. If you can keep in mind a few simple tips, you can avoid many of the scammers who will sell you something that you don’t want or save you a considerable amount of money.

Be Prepared

Before you get ready to purchase a vehicle, you should know what you want first. This means doing a little research both online and at car lots as well. You should know if you want a sports car, truck, luxury sedan, a sub-compact or other type of vehicle. Plus, you should know why you want to get a new vehicle as well. Are you looking for better gas mileage, more room inside for your growing family, better safety, or do you just need a newer version of what you already have?

Knowing what you want is 9/10ths of the battle because you can now research prices and understand what the right market value is for a vehicle.

If Something Looks Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is

You will probably run across a vehicle that is really underpriced. If it is, then warning bells should go off. Perhaps the owner is just not very knowledgeable or maybe wants to sell quickly. But more than likely there is something about the vehicle that justifies the low price, so have it checked out if you can and look for things like flood damage.

Sellers that Avoid Direct Communication

If you are shopping for a vehicle online, then you should be in direct communication with the owner. People that avoid phone calls or want to go outside prescribed messaging systems, such as those found on eBay are people to be avoided. This generally means that there is something not right about what they are selling.

Sellers that Ask for Money Upfront

Again, if you are looking online for a vehicle and a seller wishes to meet with you, but wants some money upfront as insurance because they have to take the car with them is scamming you. Never send any seller money, especially if they request Western Union to make the payment. You should not pay anything until you are ready to purchase the vehicle.

When in Doubt, Have the Vehicle Inspected by a Mechanic

A professional mechanic will usually charge a fee for inspecting a vehicle, but if you are serious about the purchase then it is well worth the money. A mechanic can spot potential issues that most of us cannot. So if you are ready to buy, but there is still something nagging you about the vehicle, then pay a qualified mechanic to take a look.

These simple tips will help you avoid some of the major scams when it comes to buying a vehicle.


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