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With the rise of online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace and OfferUp, buying and selling used cars has become more convenient than ever. However, along with the convenience, there are also risks involved, particularly in the form of car scams. In this article, we will explore the real-life risks associated with purchasing cars on Facebook and OfferUp and emphasize the importance of conducting a pre-purchase inspection to avoid falling victim to fraudulent schemes.

1: Non-Existent Vehicles:

Non-Existent Vehicles

Figure 1: Non-Existent Vehicles

One common scam involves fake listings for vehicles that don’t actually exist. Scammers may use stolen pictures and descriptions to entice unsuspecting buyers. They often request payment upfront, promising to ship the vehicle after the transaction. To mitigate this risk, it is crucial to exercise caution when dealing with sellers who refuse to allow an in-person inspection or demand payment before you’ve seen the car.

2: Salvage Title Concealment:

Salvage Title Concealment

Figure 2: Salvage Title Concealment

Some sellers may intentionally hide the fact that a vehicle has a salvage title, which means it has been declared a total loss by an insurance company due to significant damage or theft. Scammers may attempt to sell these vehicles without disclosing their history, potentially leaving buyers with unexpected repairs and diminished value. To avoid this risk, always insist on obtaining the vehicle’s title and running a vehicle history report to check for any salvage or branded titles.

3: Odometer Fraud:

Odometer Fraud

Figure 3: Odometer Fraud

Odometer fraud is another prevalent scam that involves rolling back the mileage on a vehicle to make it appear less used. Sellers may tamper with the odometer or provide false documentation to deceive buyers into paying a higher price. To protect yourself, consider hiring a professional pre-purchase vehicle inspection service that can verify the mileage and overall condition of the car.

4: Stolen Vehicles:

Stolen Vehicles

Figure 4: Stolen Vehicles

Scammers may try to sell stolen vehicles on online platforms, making it essential for buyers to verify the vehicle’s ownership and legitimacy. Always ask for the vehicle’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and run it through resources like the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) or Carfax to check for any theft reports.



What is a pre-purchase inspection, and why is it important when buying a car on Facebook or OfferUp?

A pre-purchase inspection is a comprehensive evaluation of a vehicle’s condition conducted by a professional mechanic or inspection service before finalizing the purchase. It helps identify potential issues, hidden damages, or fraudulent activities, ensuring that you make an informed decision and avoid scams when buying a car online.

How can I protect myself from non-existent vehicle scams on Facebook and OfferUp?

To protect yourself from non-existent vehicle scams, it is crucial to exercise caution and follow these steps:

  • Always insist on an in-person inspection of the vehicle before making any payment.
  • Be wary of sellers who demand upfront payment without allowing you to see the car.
  • Verify the seller’s identity and credibility by checking their profile, ratings, and reviews.
  • Avoid transactions where the seller insists on shipping the vehicle without any prior inspection.

What should I do if I suspect a car listing on Facebook or OfferUp involves odometer fraud?

If you suspect odometer fraud in a car listing, take the following steps:

Request the vehicle’s maintenance records and compare them with the displayed mileage.

Look for any signs of tampering or inconsistencies in the odometer reading, such as misaligned numbers or unusual wear on the odometer gauge.

Consider hiring a professional pre-purchase inspection service to thoroughly inspect the vehicle’s mileage and condition.

Are there any additional resources I can use to verify a vehicle’s authenticity before purchasing it on Facebook or OfferUp?

Yes, there are several resources you can use to verify a vehicle’s authenticity, such as: Requesting the vehicle’s VIN and running it through reputable vehicle history report services like Carfax or AutoCheck.

Checking the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) database to see if the vehicle has been reported stolen.

Searching for the vehicle’s make and model on other reputable online marketplaces to compare prices, descriptions, and seller information.



Buying a car through Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp can be a convenient way to find a good deal, but it’s crucial to be aware of the risks associated with online car scams. To protect yourself from fraud, always insist on conducting a pre-purchase inspection by a trusted mechanic or a professional inspection service. This inspection will provide you with an unbiased evaluation of the vehicle’s condition, ensuring that you make an informed decision.

If you have any queries please Contact us. At NSpectaCar, we understand the importance of a thorough pre-purchase vehicle inspection. Our experienced team of certified mechanics can provide you with a comprehensive report, giving you peace of mind before making a significant investment.

Call 206 578 6425