389 The Craigslist “vehicle report” scam

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You know I love to let you know about scams to watch for! Here’s one that shows up sometimes when you’re selling a car on Craigslist.



For some reason, scammers love to target Craigslist car listings. Here’s how this scam works, when you list your car or truck for sale on Craigslist.

You’ll get contacted, probably by text message, by someone who seems very interested in the vehicle. You’ll get questions that seem legitimate, and sound like they’re coming from someone who is seriously interested in buying the car.

So you answer all their questions, and you think you have a solid prospective buyer. Then, you get one more text message, almost as an afterthought –

car scam


And there it is. Just a minor detail before he hands over a wad of cash – just need the vehicle history report.

Why would they ask for that? What’s the scam here?

There are several “services” that will give you a full report on the history of any vehicle. If it was in an accident, if it has been in a flood, if an insurance claim was made, how extensive the repairs were, all kinds of stuff. But these are not necessarily legitimate services like Carfax. These are smaller, unknown ones. And you have to pay for the report of course.

But why would the scammer want you to buy this vehicle report? Because the scammer has an affiliate arrangement with the “service” – so he has a special website address that is linked to his account, and whenever anyone clicks the link and buys the report, he makes some money. If the report costs $99, the scammer might make $30. Prices vary, so it may be more or less expensive than this.

Is it really worth all that work, to make $30?

Well, look at it like this. The scammer might be in text message communication with 50 people (not difficult, since there are literally thousands of cars and trucks listed for sale on Craigslist – and he’s contacting people all over the US, not just in your area). So out of those 50 people, if he can just get 10 to buy that vehicle report, he’s made $300. $300 per day means he makes $90,000 per year – and that’s with taking 2 months off. And all he does is browse Craigslist and send text messages.

Of course, after you buy the “report”, you never hear from him again. He’s made his commission, so no more discussion about buying your car.

So if you get any “buyers” who ask you to purchase a report (or anything else) before they buy your car, just block their number because they never had any intention of buying.

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Capt. Rick Bertram
January 4th, 2022

Good Stuff Scott…. thanks. Rick