Security Risks Closer Than They Appear

Online car buying is a relatively safe way to save money and slide behind the wheel of your dream ride. Buying and selling vehicles online is convenient for everyone involved, as it’s possible to find sellers and buyers all over the country. However, some scammers have figured out how to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers. 

Along with learning about car buying scams, it’s also essential to learn about auto transport scams as many virtual car sellers incorporate auto shipping services. If you are looking for a reputable car shipping provider serving drivers in Texas and other neighboring states, Guardian Auto Transport is one example of a trustworthy and reliable auto shipping business that will help you steer clear of auto transport scams. 

Not sure what hazards to look out for on the road ahead? Here are a few examples of online auto scams you might want to swerve away from next time you’re clicking your way to car ownership. 


When sellers curbstones, they sell cars without having the necessary state licenses and permits. These sellers also do not own a car lot or any other business entity. People who curbstone sell vehicles in vacant parking lots or curbside, thus the name. Curbstone sellers often sell cars with salvage titles or significant damage. 

These unscrupulous vendors also make deals without leaving contact information, meaning the buyer has no recourse when things break or go wrong. 

Identity theft

Some online sellers don’t have cars for sale at all. Instead, these scammers list vehicles for sale as bait to gather Social Security numbers, driver’s license information, and bank account numbers. Unsuspecting buyers give the information over the phone or through text and email. Then, the sellers disappear with your information and access to your bank and identity documents.

Title washing

Sellers who wash titles do it to remove the car’s history. These vendors sell vehicles with severe damage, but they hide that information from potential buyers.

This scam tricks unsuspecting shoppers into buying a car with significant damage, but they don’t know it because the title’s history has been wiped clean in an unethical and illegal way. To avoid buying a damaged car, always ask for a vehicle history report and read it carefully. 

Unusual payment requests

Another scam that online sellers use is to ask buyers to pay for the car in an unorthodox way. To avoid paying taxes on the vehicles they sell, car sellers ask buyers to pay with gift cards, wire transfers, and cash only. The most sinister request is asking for gift cards as payment, then disappearing with the gift cards and not selling the car. 

Wire transfers

Along with the unusual choice of asking buyers to pay with gift cards, asking for a wire transfer is another red flag that someone is trying to scam you. Paying with a wire transfer is helpful for the person receiving the payment but not the person sending it. If you pay with a wire transfer, you have little to no recourse on your money if something goes wrong. 

Final word

Before buying a car online, research the seller, the vehicle, and the payment method. After you’ve determined the car is legitimate, do not send money or share any private information with the seller. When you pay for the automobile, do it the same way you would for a car at a dealership.