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How can you deal with canvassers, and avoid scams and fraudulent buyers?

Taking sensible precautions can help deal with some of the potential perils in the car-selling process

Andy Pringle

Words by: Andy Pringle

Published on 14 June 2015 | 0 min read

A canvasser is someone who contacts a car seller, trying to persuade them to pay to advertise their car somewhere else.
They can be hugely irritating, which is why Auto Trader has developed its free ‘Protect Your Number’ service to help protect sellers. The way this works is to replace a seller’s number with a unique Auto Trader number in an advert; when a buyer calls it, they are redirected to the seller’s personal number – but without ever seeing that number. At the same time, the system can block known scammers and nuisance calls. Spotting fraudulent buyers isn’t easy, but there are a few scams that the government’s Money Advice Service picked out, including:
  • People who try to buy a car using a Paypal account set up using false details
  • Text messages that encourage you to phone to text back, only to be charged a premium rate
  • A buyer offering to buy your car for the full amount via Paypal, then claiming they’re overpaid and asking to be refunded through a different method. Then, they cancel the original transaction and you lose the money you’re paid back.
  • Buyers posing as an exporter who asks you to send ‘shipping fees’ to overseas buyers
  • Emails from websites that request log-in and payment details for your card
  • A buyer who pays by cheque and takes the car before the cheque clears, only for the cheque to bounce because it’s a forgery