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Are Wire Transfers Safe When Selling a Car?

Are Wire Transfers Safe When Selling a Car?

We try to focus only on the positives here on our blog but there are times when we have to flag risks. This is one of those times. Selling a car privately comes with risk. There’s no avoiding it or putting a positive spin on it. It’s risky letting someone into your house, letting them into your garage, letting them inspect your car and even riskier letting them test drive it.


All good reasons to sell your car to a dealership.


There are particular red flags we recommend looking out for though when selling a car privately and we’ll list a few of them here.


Sight unseen


This is a common scam where someone will contact you saying they have been looking for that exact make, model and colour car. They work abroad or on oil rigs, are away at sea or something else.


They will send a friend over to view the car and send some kind of bank cheque over. Except the cheque won’t be real.


Fake escrow


As some sellers are aware of the risks of selling cars privately, they want to use an escrow system to help protect them. Only it doesn’t protect them in the same way they think it does.


A buyer will show you an escrow system with the money deposited into it. They will buy the car, give you the password or details for escrow and the website will look and feel legitimate.


Except it isn’t. Once you try to withdraw the money, you’ll quickly find you can’t. By that time, the buyer has the keys and has likely driven off.


Fake cheques or banker’s cheques


Fake cheques have been around since the cheque itself and are a common way for scammers to part you from your car. Most of us are aware that cheques can be faked to a very high standard so don’t deal with them.


Banker’s cheques on the other hand are something different. We trust banks more than people so more sellers are willing to accept banker’s cheques.


Except they are as easy to fake as a personal cheque.


Just because it has a bank’s name on it, doesn’t mean it’s real!


Anyone wanting to pay by cheque could be a scammer. Insist on bank transfer.


Needs to pay by wire transfer


Wire transfers are another payment method easily faked. Anyone insisting on paying for your car using a wire transfer should be avoided.


This can be part of the ‘sight unseen’ scam where the buyer offers to pay you quickly using wire transfer. It can also be used as part of a standard scam.


Overpayment scam


The overpayment scam is a common tactic because it seems harmless. Someone buys your car, pays by bank transfer and pays a little too much. This scam takes choreography but is increasingly common.


Once the buyer has driven away, they will contact you later to ask you return the overpayment.


Only the original payment didn’t even happen and you’re now down a car and some cash!


Those are just some of the scams to look out for through private sales. Save time, lower risk by selling your car to a dealership. It’s the only way to be sure!

Categories: Car Selling