As you shop through the used car classified section of your local newspaper, you may want to use extra caution to avoid scams or fraudulent sellers. If you're diligent and patient, you can always find a great deal on a used car.
Deal with Local Sellers
Most types of scams can be avoided altogether if you simply insist on doing business locally. When looking for cars and classified ads, avoid those where the seller offers to ship the car from a distant location. Always choose sellers that you can find fairly easily in your area.
Don't Give Any Personal Information
There may be times when you will contact the seller directly. If you do, never give anyone any sensitive personal information. Also, never wire money to anyone for any car. Insist on meeting the seller person and paying with a cashier's check. Never carry cash.
Conduct a Vehicle History Search
Before you purchase a used car, you should always use a service like Carfax or your state's Department of Motor Vehicles to run a vehicle history check. This can help you avoid scams where the seller tries to use of the VIN for a vehicle other than the one he is trying to sell you.