How to Sell a Car on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed in 2023

After knowing different types of Craigslist car buying scams, you must be wondering how to sell a car on Craigslist without getting scammed, and is Craigslist a good place to sell a car? Isn’t it? If yes, this guide will help you know everything you need to know about safely selling a car on Craigslist without getting scammed.

Scams! As eerie as they sound, the feeling of getting scammed is far worse!

If you own a car and you want to sell it on the most popular and best online car buying and selling sites like Craigslist, you might be afraid of getting scammed. And that’s why you are here, right? If your answer is yes, you are definitely on the right page!

how to sell a car on craigslist without getting scammed
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Selling a car on Craigslist has become very common and popular these days, thanks to the wide reach of the internet! For those who do not know, Craigslist is a popular platform on the internet that gets enormous traffic every month from car sellers and buyers across the world.

And to understand what is the safest way to sell your car on Craigslist (without getting scammed) in such a big pool of people is a real job! As scams are very common in online transactions, you may get trapped in them too if you do not know the proper ways to deal with the buyers (or sellers!)

No wonder selling a car involves huge amounts of money, and it is not equivalent to selling other pieces of stuff on the same platform. Hence, to conclude safe dealings with your car buyer on Craigslist, we have shortlisted some of the most helpful methods on how to safely sell a car on Craigslist in the article that follows.

All you need to do is go through it thoroughly! So, do not wait and start reading now.

Is Craigslist Good for Selling Cars?

If you are looking for a straight answer to whether selling a car on Craigslist is good for the car owners, then the answer is probably a YES! But if you are thinking you can get away with it easily, you are probably wrong!

As a result, the site may be popular with buyers, sellers, or even car dealers for buying and selling used cars, but you cannot simply proceed without any type of precautions.

You must know how to sell a car on Craigslist without getting scammed, as there are ample stories on the net suggesting scams and frauds to people trying to buy or sell their vehicles on this site. In contrast, it is also quite popular with successful purchases and sales made by dealers or individual owners, and thus it can be considered an excellent platform to carry out the desired work.

It is convenient to use, can help you make more money, and also saves a lot of time as opposed to physical dealings. So, if you are wondering; is Craigslist a good place to sell a car? Consider it a yes!

Do you know? What to Check When Buying a Used Car from a Private Seller?

Types Of Car Buying Scams on Craigslist:

As we already discussed, there are many Craigslist car buying scams that we can discover on the internet, and you may want to know what are the different types of scams you can expect when trying to sell a car on Craigslist particularly.

Here is a comprehensive list of different types of car buying scams on Craigslist that may help you avoid getting scammed when selling a car! Keep reading:

Phishing Scams

Internet phishing is a very common sight in most digital platforms. And it doesn’t leave Craigslist as well! The car buying scams on Craigslist include phishing from the buyers.

You need to be aware when the buyer asks you to send in your contact details somewhere else, citing the reason that they are busy. They might ask you to fill in some address forms or contact details form by sending you links that can directly land you in trouble.

You should never open any such links or give away potentially important information on any platform other than the Craigslist chat.

Overpayment Schemes

This is a very common kind of scam that you may face while selling a car on Craigslist. Have you ever thought about why someone wants to buy my car without seeing it? Well, they do when they plan to con you by making an overpayment!

Yes, they usually try to win over your trust, and they agree to pay you more than you ask for! Then they ask to deliver the car or return the extra money!

And it is actually when you send them either the car or the money (because they already won your trust) you may find out that the check bounces or the payment stop initially. Hence, you may lose out a hundred dollars or your car if you cannot identify such scams.

Fraudulent Checks and Money Orders

This is another one in the list of types of common Craigslist car buying scams to watch out for the car sellers! On the other side, these ones may give you lucrative offers to buy your vehicle. They may also agree to pay you in checks or money orders outside of the designated payment methods inside the Craigslist site.

And when you agree to that and send over your car after they show you payment confirmation over email and all, they may withdraw from the payment mode, or they may send bounce checks also. So beware of such kinds of money orders and agree to safe payment modes only!

Fake PayPal Payments

The internet is a tricky place! And while you wonder what are the different types of car buying scams on Craigslist, you may never actually be able to detect one even if it occurs right in front of your eyes!

The fake PayPal accounts seem precisely similar to the original ones, and you can get trapped on them easily. When scammers send you payment confirmation emails through PayPal, you will obviously fall for it!

Sadly, these phony accounts resemble legit-looking emails that are hard to distinguish. So, you must know that PayPal never asks customers for pins, passwords, downloads, or any such information. Report if you find anything fishy!

Fake Escrow Services

Out of all the Craigslist car buyer scams mentioned herein, this one looks quite authentic but is actually quite phishing!

For those who do not know, escrow services are the type of services provided to both buyers and sellers by Craigslist. It ensures the money you transfer is held back for a certain period, and if the purchase is satisfactorily executed, the money is released.

Meanwhile, the scammers root for phishing through counterfeiting such escrow services. Hence, they get all your banking information easily to con you. So, you must cross-check these services if at all you want to use them.


Wondering how to tell if someone is scamming you on Craigslist? Ghosting is what you should look for! Well, it is not always that ghosting involves money, but it can actually cost you a lot of time and effort if the person, on the other hand, is ghosting you.

It works like this; you may talk with a potential buyer, set up a meeting, or something like that, but they never show up. Or it might be that they leave the chat halfway through finalizing the buying process.

These people are scammers, and they only search for scamming opportunities. Beware of such ghost buyers on Craigslist; there might be many!

You might also like: How to Buy a Car on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed

How to Sell a Car on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed

Now that we are finally in the most crucial section of the article, we shall get to know in detail what are the essential things you must know when selling a car on Craigslist in order to avoid getting scammed.

Here we have listed 13 most helpful tips for selling your car on Craigslist or online car selling sites like Craigslist. So, without further ado, let’s learn about all these significant information that can surely help you save yourself from getting scammed on Craigslist while selling your car. Here we go:

Hope for the Best and Be Prepared for the Worst

For individual car owners, selling a car on Craigslist might be scary and exciting at the same time. They may have the jitters of selling their used vehicles on the internet without having to go through physical dealings.

And on the other hand, they might also fear getting scammed online while trying to sell their precious vehicles to the buyers. Amidst all these, you can feel worse at times. But the best thing to follow during these times is to remain calm and conscious.

No wonder you will get all the details about how to sell a car without getting scammed in this article, but you cannot rely on them blindly! The scammers are way too scrupulous than you or I can imagine, and they have all the plans to dupe you of your money and car if they want to!

As reliable as these methods are, there might still be loopholes in your understanding. So, that is why it is recommended that you always keep yourself prepared to tackle the worst while you hope for the best.

And preparing does not only mean being mentally prepared; it also points out to keeping backup ready in case you are scammed while selling your car on Craigslist.

Look for Warning Signs

This is one of the useful tips for selling a car on Craigslist that you can rely on! You can always find warning signs by scammers if the buyer is actually one.

No matter how wonderfully they execute their plans of duping you, they are bound to make mistakes or leave some loopholes that might prove to be a warning sign for you. And these are the signs that you must know or look for before finalizing the deal.

It is evident that you are on this guide looking for the best ways on how to safely sell a car on Craigslist, right? So, here you go; look for warning signs and cancel the deal if you find any!

So, what are these signs that you should look for?

Well, the first is ghosting, and you have already read about it in the section above. If any person tries to ghost you for a long time, ditch him or her right away!

Also, look if they are being overly friendly to you or asking to pay in advance or pay more! The safest way to sell a car on Craigslist is striking a deal that makes both of you agree and is carried out lawfully. Anything beyond that might be a warning sign.

Trade with Locals Only

No wonder trading with locals-only is the best way to sell a car on Craigslist. Though it might not always be a feasible option for you as it is not always that someone from the neighborhood would be interested in buying used cars, you must not leave the chance if you get someone like this.

Are you wondering why is it safe to deal with the locals only?

They might turn out to be scammers, too, right? Well, indeed! You can find scammers among the locals too, but you have got plenty of options to deal with them if they actually scam you, which is not the case with buyers from outside your locality.

Dealing with locals is indeed the safest way to sell car on Craigslist because they cannot simply run away with your car! Or even if they do, as they are already locals, you can get information about them pretty fast.

Apart from that, you can also take help from cybercrime officials/police officers to identify them easily in case there is a scam. Most of the time, though, the locals are trustworthy, and they usually do not carry out a scam in a place they likely live in!

So, overall, if you are thinking about how to sell a car on Craigslist without getting scammed, go for a local buyer!

Ask for a Phone Number

If you are still breaking your head thinking about how to sell a car on Craigslist safely, then you have another method to rely on. Yes, exchanging phone numbers may work for both of you as you can contact each other in person, beyond the Craigslist interface.

Most of the time, the scammers would be reluctant in sharing their personal details with you. That is why you must take it as a warning sign. Even if the buyer shares their contact details or phone numbers with you, you must cross-check them before moving ahead into the deal.

When you have an extensive idea about how to not get scammed on Craigslist as a seller, you will easily be able to sniff a scammer. The number can be fake, the details shared can be made up, and the person on the other side might not be the actual buyer. So, you need to confirm all of these to prepare to strike a deal.

In addition to these things, if you find the number to be blocked or private, then it is also a very big red signal. So, the best way to sell your car on Craigslist is to get the number of the buyer, hear a real human voice and plan your actions accordingly.

Meet the Buyer In-Person (But not alone)

There are many methods mentioned in this article about how to sell cars on Craigslist in the safest ways possible. And this one, in particular, tops the list for a reason!

Meeting your car buyer in person can simply save a lot of problems, in case they are a scammer. You can ask the buyer to meet you at any public place to discuss the deals in person.

If the buyer refuses to meet you in person, you can smell something fishy in their attitude. But if the buyer agrees to meet you, you must remember that you should not go alone.

Often these scammers would plot such meetings to gain your trust. They may talk you to the point that you start trusting them inevitably. And that is when they take advantage of it.

To know how to avoid getting scammed on Craigslist after meeting a buyer, you should follow the given tips:

  • Never go alone.
  • Record your conversations if possible.
  • Take a picture with the buyer.
  • Do not provide every tiny detail about you.
  • Always choose a public place for the meetup.

When you follow all these essential tips for selling your car on Craigslist, you can prevent getting scammed easily.

Inform the Buyer to Come with a Mechanic

You may still be thinking, how do you avoid getting scammed when selling a car on Craigslist! Well, here is another cue! Always ask the person on the other side to come over with an automobile mechanic for inspections.

It can be that the scammers who pose as car buyers ask for your permission to take your car to a car mechanic for the necessary inspections. It is when they can switch or swap some valuable parts from your car without you knowing about it. They can use those parts for any unlawful intentions.

They might also deny the deal citing reasons that your car’s condition is not good. And that is why, before selling a car on Craigslist, you must fix a meeting between a mechanic and the buyer at your own place.

The mechanic must come along with the buyer for the necessary inspections right in front of your eyes. That way, you can be assured of the loyalty of the buyer and keep a check on your car parts as well.

After that, you can sit to discuss the deal with the potential buyer. So, now you know how to safely sell a car on Craigslist without getting scammed, right?

Ask for the Driver’s License Before the Test Drive

This one is another trustworthy method to depend on when you think of how to sell on Craigslist without getting scammed. Most car buyers would eventually have their Driver’s license if only they were not scammers.

In worst cases, the scammers can also have fake driver’s licenses. So, one thing that you must do is ask for their driver’s license to be sure of their identity.

If you are allowing a test drive and want to know how to sell a car on Craigslist without getting scammed during a test drive, then here is the catch – get along with the buyer inside the car until they finish the test drive.

This is necessary because if the buyer is a scammer, they can run away with your vehicle and tamper evidence as well.

When you already have the buyer’s driver’s license, and you drive along with them for the test drive, the chances of getting scammed are less. However, selling a car on Craigslist might still be full of doubts, and you shall not allow the buyer to drive through isolated roads, always choose a crowded place for the same!

Negotiate in Person (If possible)

The best tips for selling a car on Craigslist are yet to come! Yes, and this one surely counts.

When you try to sell your car on an online platform, there is less chance for negotiations. It is because there are plenty of options for both the buyers and sellers and when you try to negotiate, they can eventually move on to better offers.

Another important aspect about how to sell a car on Craigslist safely relies on meeting the buyer in person. You can always negotiate as much as you can on the internet because there is no real face behind those arguments, but when you meet someone in person, there are lesser chances of wrongful negotiations, which most scammers prefer doing.

When you are almost done with finalizing the deal, and now you want to negotiate the price with the buyer, ask him or her to meet you in person. If they deny, you already know what to do!

But even if they agree, you have got the chance to meet and negotiate to a point where you can look out for other red flags too! Well, this was all about how to not get scammed on Craigslist by negotiating in person!

Only Accept Cash Payments

This is the most important point to know when you try to figure out how to safely sell a car on Craigslist! The scam generally applies to monetary losses. The person on the other side can promise you payment, and they might not live up to their words.

There can be delays, phishing, check bounces, halted installments, and several other ways of conning you when the buyer is a scammer. That is why this method works out!

Anytime, the best way to accept payment for a car on Craigslist is by cash. That might not go well with many car sellers as most of them prefer either digital payments or payments through checks. But if you want to be sure of the buyer’s motives, you must edge them to make payments through cash only.

It helps because you can meet the buyer in person; in case you need to identify them later, you get your money all at once, and it leaves none of you hanging further.

Most scammers refuse to make payments through cash, and that is a win-win situation for you to understand how to sell a car and not get scammed!

Complete the Paperwork in a Safe Zone

Are you still wondering how to sell your car on Craigslist safely? No worries! Here’s another way out.

Conclude your paperwork in a safe zone. Yes, it is necessary because if the buyer is a scammer, he or she might want to get away with your car or ditch the paperwork schedule for their good. And you would not certainly prefer that.

Once they know that they have to arrive for the paperwork in a safe zone like that of a bank or near a police booth, they may be alerted. They might also refuse to come, and that is a red sign too!

In other cases, they might turn up. And so, it is the safest way to sell a car on Craigslist by completing the paperwork in a safe zone.

You may give away the license plates to the buyer, and if the buyer is from out of state, you may have to return them to the state DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) as per the state law.

Also, you must keep copies of all the relevant documents safely along with you for any future references. These are some of the essential things to know when selling a car on Craigslist.

Make No Guarantees

One common mistake that most car owners make while selling a car on Craigslist is that they guarantee their vehicles to be in very good condition. This is a strict no-no!

In fact, you must not guarantee the mileage your vehicle will provide also! This is said because when you guarantee a thing, and it fails to deliver the expected results, things may turn worse.

And the scammers search for such opportunities to either pay less or claim compensations from the car owners. Hence, it is best not to guarantee anything about your car to avoid future conflicts with the buyer.

To ensure how to sell a car on Craigslist without getting scammed, you must be sure of presenting the car as it is. The description in the listing that you put up on the site must match exactly with the car condition, and you should not guarantee anything beyond that!

So one of the best tips for selling a car on Craigslist is to be original. Let the buyer decide if he wants your vehicle in the exact condition as it is so that both of you are satisfied with the deal.

File a Release of Liability Form

This is the most important tip to follow when you are searching about how to safely sell a car on Craigslist! There are people from so many arenas looking to buy cars on Craigslist. And some of them can be robbers too! They might have scrupulous intentions behind buying used cars.

That’s why, filing a release of Liability form is very necessary for the sellers.

When you file for the Release of Liability form, you are free from anything that happens with a car. It would be best if you did it immediately after selling a car on Craigslist and even before the buyer takes away the vehicle.

Many states allow online submissions of the liability forms, and they can be filed easily. You must do it after receiving cash from the buyer so that it does not go out of your hand if the deal is not finalized somehow!

However, if the person on the other side refuses to spare you the time for filing the liability release, you may consider it to be a red flag. When the liability form is released, you no longer hold any responsibilities to the car. So, now you know how to sell a car without getting scammed on Craigslist.

Trust Your Instincts (Don’t Rush into a Deal)

No matter how technically advanced we have become, nothing can beat our instincts when it comes to taking an important decision. You may know what is the fastest way to sell a car on Craigslist, but it is suggested that you do not rush into closing deals.

Take your time, trust your instinct, look for red flags and then decide on your dealings.

You might forget to ask for valid documents, you may not meet the buyer in person, or you may even not bother with cash payments when in a hurry to lock a deal. And that is why you must stop searching for the safest ways on how to sell a car fast on Craigslist and rather focus on taking time to understand your buyer well.

Sometimes, even if everything seems to be right in place and there aren’t any red flags, you can still not feel good about your buyer. You can have the feeling that there is something fishy. And that is your instinct telling you this!

Thus, it is advised to ditch the buyer in such instances. The best way to sell your car on racialist is always to go with your instincts first!

You might also like: How to Check If My Car Has Extended Warranty (4 Methods)

What is the Safest Payment Method When Selling a Car on Craigslist?

If you ask us what is the best way to accept payment when selling a car on Craigslist, we would promptly say by CASH! Yes, cash payments are considered safest when it comes to any type of online transactions, let alone Craigslist!

But sometimes, due to various reasons, a person cannot comply with receiving cash payments from the buyers, no matter how safe it might sound!

In such times, you can settle for the other modes of payment that are less riskier. It includes cashier’s checks, escrow payments, etc. But these methods may still have some risks as compared to the cash payment methods, so you must be aware of how to deal with them. In any form, the best way to accept payment for a car on Craigslist is by cash.

You must remember another very important thing: never agreeing to payment plans. Well, when it comes to payment plans, scammers dig out the routine in a way that they get your car in the first or second installment, and then they never turn up to complete the entire payment.

Thus, to know how to sell a car on Craigslist without getting scammed, you have to follow the information provided in this article carefully.

How to Safely Sell a Car on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed

The advanced digital world we live in gives us many opportunities to derive benefits. But at the same time, it provides easy ways for scammers to dupe you of your money and other valuables. Like we talk about scamming while selling cars on Craigslist; one of the world’s top-rated car buyer and seller sites on the internet!

And as we have discussed the 13 most valuable tips for selling a car on Craigslist without getting scammed, we hope it will help our readers to gain enough benefits when they try to sell their car on the site.

No wonder they are all effective in controlling scams to an extended level. But when it comes to the application of the given methods, it is not always possible to check through all of them. Hence, I have shortlisted a few helpful and effective methods of how to sell a car on Craigslist in the safest ways from the given one. These include;

  • Look for Warning Signs (your instinct is also important)
  • Ask for the Driver’s License Before the Test Drive
  • File a Release of Liability Form

Well, these were my preferred choices. However, choosing the safest way to sell a car on Craigslist still depends on you, as you know well, which formula will work wonders for selling the car without getting scammed. Hence follow your instinct and go for the deal unworried!

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About Jace Cuban

I am an automotive enthusiast who loves to be around cars and pickup trucks. Applying innovative car care products and installing different latest car accessories are my hobbies. Also, I love sharing my adventurous experience with car lovers.

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