Keep yourself and your loved ones safe. There is nothing worse than feeling violated. In the business of selling used cars, we have read and heard some scary stories. Although technology has catapulted us into an era of advancement, it has also made us vulnerable to theft and unsafe online practices. We wanted to share some sound advice we feel is important. You can never be too careful and we recommend everyone practice caution when selling your vehicle. Our 8 safety tips when selling your car will bring you up to date on what you should do.
1 ) Unknown Strangers Coming to Your House or Business
Avoid unknown and unpredictable strangers coming to your house or place of business. Maintain your privacy and most of all, the safety of your home and family. You should always screen your callers. Never give a potential buyer your home address or any pertinent personal information. Our advice, meet in a mutually agreed-upon public place and take a friend along. This way, you can vet whether the person is genuine or just trying to commit some kind of fraud or theft. You can complete a cash transaction at the buyer’s bank where there is always security. This ensures you get paid right away in a safe location. If you do decide to have them come to your home or business address, complete the transaction a few doors down and at the curb. Don’t forget to have a witness present. Or, feel safe all around and call Car Fast Cash!
2) Giving Out Your Number or Address
Putting a “For Sale” sign on your car or running a classified ad puts your phone number and home address at risk of theft and fraud. Again, maintain your privacy and most of all, the safety of your home and family. You’ll have to give out some kind of information for potential buyers to use. If you get a call from a blocked or restricted number, the caller already knows a lot more about you than you do about him/her. Immediately block these numbers. Giving out your home address just isn’t a good idea for several reasons. The person could come to your home without your knowledge and case your home or worse, could be a child predator. What if something goes wrong with the transaction? Nobody wants a visit from an irate buyer. It is best to use a phone number but practice caution.
3) Certificate of Title, Release Of Liability
It’s bad enough having an unpredictable stranger driving your car for a test drive, but what happens after you get paid and hand over the signed Certificate of Title (pink slip)? If the buyer doesn’t go to the DMV right away and transfer the title in their name and release you from liability, they could be driving around on your registration. Unbeknownst to you, they could be collecting parking tickets, red light camera violations, and worse commit a harmful accident. You can be held liable and it could cost you your house! Play it safe. Once you have signed over the pink slip, you must write in the mileage on the odometer to prove what the last mileage was when you last owned it. We suggest taking a picture of the pink slip before you hand it over to the new owner, whether or not you are planning on going with the person to the DMV office. Make sure to submit a Release of Liability to the DMV office within 5 days of the sale. Print out your confirmation and keep it in a safe place so if you ever need to prove vehicle transfer, you’ll be free from any liability.
4) The Dangers of Driving Around Town, Looking for a Buyer
Why go through all the hassle and expense of driving all over town, going from car dealer to car dealer, trying to get the best price for your car? It is not only stressful but you put additional wear and tear on your vehicle, spend on unnecessary gas, the off chance you can get into an accident and most importantly, the loss of your precious time. When you put yourself in this type of situation, you could be lured by low-ball offers just to be done with the stressful process. Take a breath and take your time. It is best to first advertise your car online or a car buying service like Car Fast Cash.
5) Getting Paid Safely & Securely
There are many ways to get paid for your car when you sell it. You can receive cash, cashier’s check, personal check, wire transfer or electronic payment. But, there are also many ways to get scammed.
Cash: Receiving cash can be stressful. Where do you conduct this cash transaction with an unpredictable stranger? At a public place? Fine, but you don’t know if they’ll follow you home. Always have a witness present and always conduct the cash transaction in a safe place like at a bank or in front of a police station. Do the research on counterfeit money. It might come in handy.
Cashier’s Check: A common scam payment is a fraudulent cashier’s check. When you take it as payment, deposit it into your account, and in about two weeks it bounces. You then incur bank charges. Verify its authenticity by calling the bank of issuance and ask them to verify the check.
Electronic Payments: Even accepting PayPal for payment has its problems. A buyer may be using someone else’s account to purchase large items. Or, the buyer could file a chargeback for any reason and PayPal almost always sides with the buyer and reverse the transaction. Look out for red flags like payments split between multiple accounts or accepting partial payments. Make sure the buyer’s Paypal account matches their License information. Ask to take a picture so that you have proof.
Wire Transfers: Fraudsters love wire transfers. Why? Because fraudsters can easily hack into someone’s bank account, use their money and transfer it to your account. They have basically purchased something on someone else’s dime. Once the real owner realizes his/her money is gone, they will file a claim with the bank and try to have it reversed. Unfortunately for the account holder, it can only be reversed within a short time frame of the fraudulent transfer. Call the potential buyer’s bank ahead of time and verify information with the bank before you accept payment. It is also a good idea to alert your bank of a pending transfer, so they can be prepared.
Personal Checks: Most folks don’t even consider personal checks for obvious reasons but it happens. We don’t recommend it.
6) Prospective Buyer is Car Thief
This one is relatively rare but still happens. If you have a luxury or classic car, then your prospective buyer could very well be a professional car thief. Believe it or not, the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Dodge Caravan top the list of most stolen cars in the US. The thief could hop in for the test drive and really drive off! When allowing people to test drive your vehicle, we suggest you call your insurance agency and extend the coverage to other drivers while you are trying to sell the car. The potential for them to get into an accident is not unheard of. Take a picture of the driver’s license. We also suggest a public place during the day, in a relaxed setting. Maybe even near a police station or near a bank. There are always cameras recording nearby.
7) Negotiating the Price of Your Used Car
If the buyer wants to negotiate down the price of your advertised car, remember to always have someone you know and trust present. Consider meeting up at the police department or near the police department. Malls are also a great place to discuss money because there are many people around and there are always cameras recording. Look out for physical signs that the buyer seems nervous. If the person starts fidgeting, sweating or sounds nervous, these are warning signs. If the buyer says he/she needs to travel elsewhere to finish the transaction, beware!
8) Strip your Vehicle of Any Personal Data
If your car has an electrical system, make sure you strip any program of your personal information. If you use maps, remove any and all addresses visited. Remove your music playlists as these can identify you through Social Media, Google or Apple devices. Unpair your Bluetooth devices as these are connected to your personal data. Some cars come equipped with a garage door system. Delete your information as you don’t want to find a stranger in your garage, or worse, inside your home. Go through your car thoroughly and look for any receipts, personal documents or personal items that might identify you or your family. Most car buyers would probably appreciate the time you took in removing the information so that they don’t have to. Everyone likes a fresh start, even new car owners.
Times have changed and with it, technology has become more sophisticated and so have people. It is now simpler for a nefarious individual to commit some kind of theft. We hope these 8 safety tips when selling your car come in handy. Practice safety first and always be suspicious of strangers.