Buying or selling a car? Here’s how to avoid scams in SA…


Jade Poole from I Write Words


Car scams are a real thing and can affect anyone, make sure you’re not a victim

No one wants to be the victim of a car scam, that’s why we want to make sure you buy and sell your car the right (and safe) way.

What is a car scam?

A scam is like a shady backyard deal where you end up losing money or worse, a car.

It is when someone purposely tries to get your money or car from you through fraudulent activity. So basically, when someone swindles you through false advertising or other means. The person who is doing the scamming is called the scammer.

How do I know if I am being scammed?

Car scams can take place online, in person, through an SMS or even a phone call (in some cases).

There are some common signs to look out for: 

The price of the car you are looking at seems too good to be true and is well below market value

The scammer refuses to give you all of his or her contact details and the phone number attached to the advert diverts to email or is faulty

The scammer will sometimes make an excuse for not being able to speak to you on the phone

The scammer demands you pay the full price of the car upfront. Then, after you have paid, they will refuse to give you the car or the car will be nothing like the picture and description

The scammer says he lives overseas or far away

How can I avoid being scammed when buying a car?

Do not transfer or hand over any cash to a seller if you have not seen the vehicle and had it checked first

Always make sure you meet with the seller in person and in a public place

Do a history check on the car and make sure it is not stolen and that the details of the car and ownership documents match

Check that the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) matches the number of the owner’s registration and the roadworthy docs and that the VIN has not been tampered with

Make sure the seller’s address matches the address on the roadworthy and registration docs

Research the value of the car and make sure it matches other models with the same mileage on sites such as

Check the service history of the car

Follow your gut - if you feel unsure of the sale or that something doesn’t seem right, then rather walk away from it

How can I avoid being scammed when selling a car?

Do not allow for a potential buyer to test drive the car alone, make sure you also have a friend with you when a test drive takes place

Make sure the driver is insured in case of an accident and that their licence is valid

Do not leave your car unattended with the keys in it

Be cautious of cheque payments, if the buyer wants to pay with a cheque then make sure this clears before handing over the keys

If the buyer wants to pay cash, then arrange to meet at a bank to transfer the money and verify it

Always make sure that the amount of money is correct before giving the buyer your car

Bonus tip

Find out as much information on the buyer or seller as you can and be aware of car scams.

And! Whenever you drive a car (new or old) make sure you are insured. Getting in an accident without insurance can land you in a whole heap of debt. Damage from accidents can cost hundreds of thousands in repairs.

Accidents can and will happen every day on our roads, from bad weather conditions to drunk or bad drivers, you can’t predict what is going to happen, so be covered for when something does.

Yours in uncomplicated car insurance,


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