Staying safe on Auto Trader
Please beware of emails and text messages that claim to be from interested buyers or from Auto Trader but are, in fact, completely fraudulent.
Texts or emails that contain an email address and ask you to contact an interested buyer directly should be considered as scams – you should only email within our secure email system as it will filter out email addresses and fraudulent links. The only reason anyone would want you to contact them directly is so that they can send you fraudulent links or bogus offers.
Beware of emails or text messages that contain links of any kind. We would not ask you to, or advise you to, log in or confirm payment information via a link and no genuine interested buyer has any legitimate reason to send you a link. Logging into your Auto Trader account via a link could result in your log in details being stolen and used to fraudulently alter your advertisement, and if you use the same password for other accounts - your email or payment providers – they could also be compromised. Never use the same password for multiple accounts and never log into any account via a link.
If you receive a text message from a company offering to buy your vehicle but asking for a refundable deposit beforehand, it is a scam and should be ignored. We do not use text messages to contact our private customers and we do not buy vehicles or make such offers.
Please report all suspicious emails or text messages to our Customer Security department, either via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 0330 303 9001.
Buy and sell with confidence
Spotted an issue we should know about? Let us know
- 1We advertise cars on our websiteBut we don’t own, buy or sell any of the vehicles advertised on our website.
- 3Shipping servicesWe don’t offer any kind of shipping service for vehicles. Never send money for a vehicle you haven’t seen.
- 2We don’t offer payment servicesAuto Trader don’t provide or recommend any payment services or get involved in transactions between buyers and sellers.
- 4Emails and TextsWe’ll keep in touch by email and text message, but we will never ask for your personal or financial information via these.
Other places to go for advice
You'll find lots of tips and advice to help you buy or sell a car in this section. However, there are many other organisations and industry bodies that can also provide help:
- VSTAG helping to protect buyers and sellers from vehicle-related fraud.
- Get Safe Online offers help and advice to avoid scams and stay safe on the internet.
- Citizens Advice can provide advice on your consumer rights.
- Action Fraud is the UK's national online crime reporting centre.
- The DVLA maintains registers of drivers and vehicles.
- GOV.UK has official advice about MOT and emissions tests, insurance and more.
Who's your buyer?
If you're contacted by a company promising to buy your car or claiming to have buyers ready and waiting, beware.
These are usually scams - some even use the Auto Trader name to appear legitimate.What to look for
No matter whether you're buying or selling, a smooth payment is the best way to end a successful transaction.
Read here to understand the main payment options available and how to take the risk out of making or receiving a payment.
Whatever method of payment you choose, never send money for a vehicle you haven't seen.Payment advice
Short for "SMS phishing", SMiShing is a security attack in which the user is tricked into downloading some type of malware onto their phone or mobile device via a text message.
Read more about how to protect yourself from SMiShing.SMiShing advice
Just like every part of the internet, the world of buying and selling cars can attract fraudsters.
So you don't get taken in read this information and learn how to stay safe online, how to spot a scam and the warning signs to look out for.Common scams
Checking a vehicle
Once you've found a car you like, it's important you spend some time checking it over.
Make sure you know what to check and where you can get further information.Vehicle advice
What you need to know about buying or selling a car in Insurance Category A, B, C or D.Insurance categories