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Used Car Sellers Beware, This Latest Scam Targets You

A new scam is targeting private-party used car sellers. To avoid being scammed, check out the details here. 

Are you selling a used car online? If you list a used car for sale on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or other online car listing forums, you should be aware of a scam targeting you.

I recently sold a used Subaru WRX online and listed the car on multiple online listing forums. It doesn't matter what kind of car you are listing. Here is the scam that could target you.  

Here is what happened to me. Depending on how you specified to be contacted, you will receive a text or email from the interested buyer. Here is the first text I received. 

text from used car scammer

"Hey, I saw your car on Craigslist. I'm very interested; I just had some questions." 

Me: ok. Ask away

"Ok, great…My husband was wondering if it has a clean title." 

Me: Yes, it has a clean Colorado title

"My husband and I are paranoid because last week, I checked out a similar car in Aurora from Craigslist. It was not what was advertised, and it had a salvage title…We will meet you in the next few days if you can get a vehicle title check on it for me."

Me: Ok, tell me more about what you want.

"My Grandpa owns a dealership and always said to use this "Official VIN" website for checking titles; it's cheap and good. I used it on the last car I sold and it had a legit and clean title." 

Me: Ok, let me check it out.

"Could you send it to my email once you get it? Once we see a clean title VHR, we'd love to schedule a time to check out the car. We can pay cash too if you want. Thanks!! LMK! My email is…"

Yes, I Fell For It

I did order the VIN check from the website she asked me to use. It was from, and the cost was $22.50. I thought ok, it's not that much, and I want to see what the title check says anyway. 

used car seller texting the buyer

Within a few minutes, I sent the link to the report to her email address and let her know it was sent. I texted back repeatedly and have not heard a word from her again.

Ok, I admit I was fooled. I'm sure the "interested buyer" turned in the link with my car data to whoever she works for at MountainVin and showed that she generated the lead. She probably makes $10 - $15 on each time she does this. It's not bad for scanning the used car classifieds and making a few texts per day. 

Fool Me Once

The next day, I received another text from a different buyer asking for something similar. Here's the text.

"Hello, I noticed your post about the Subaru Impreza WRX for sale. Is it still available for purchase?"

Me: Hi, yes, it's still available.

"Oh, great. I'm interested! Has the vehicle been involved in any accidents? Where are you located exactly?"

Me: No accidents. I'm near Parker; where are you?

"I'm ready to buy this week. When can you show it to me?"

Me: Anytime tomorrow works for me

"Tomorrow at 4 pm works for me. Before I drive to you, I forgot to ask. Could you give me the DTD paperwork?"

Me: What is the DTD paperwork? 

"You can obtain the report on this website: If you can share that, I'll make arrangements. By the way, what's your name?"

I gave him my name and sent him the link to the first VIN check report I purchased. 

ME: Here you go.

"It's nice to meet you. It's Bob. Sorry, I'm not familiar with that website. I prefer to use the one I know. It has all the information that I need. I don't think any other site can give reliable information." 

Me: You have the VIN now, so you can order it. Let me know when you'd like to see the car. 

Used car seller

I have yet to hear back from him again, either, once he knew I wasn't going to buy his specific report. The first VIN report only cost me $22.50, and I was able to use it when I sold the car to a legitimate buyer a couple of days later.

But I don't like being scammed and lied to. And I don't appreciate someone wasting my time when they are not really interested in buying my car. 

I would say this must be a prevalent scam because I was targeted twice in the first two days my car was listed for sale. I sold on the third day, or I likely would have received more like it. Hopefully, this helps someone selling a used car online from falling for buying a VIN Title Report you don't want and need. 


Have you ever been scammed when selling a used car? If so, click the red Add New Comment link below and tell us about your experience.

Thanks for reading, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this used car scam story. See you tomorrow for my latest report.

Check out: BEWARE! Facebook Marketplace Is Riddled With Car Scammers!

I am Denis Flierl, a top Torque News and Subaru reporter since 2012. I’ve invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role, working with every major car brand. I am an experienced Rocky Mountain Automotive Press member. You'll find my expert Subaru analysis here. Follow me on my X SubaruReportAll Subaru, WRXSTI, @DenisFlierlFacebook, and Instagram.

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