Top tips to stay safe online

Buying a vehicle can be a safe and straightforward process, as long as you take these few simple steps to protect yourself when buying online.

Words by: First published: 19th December 2017
If you’re looking to buy a car, there are a few simple tips you should follow to help keep you safe while browsing online.
Tips to help avoid scams
  • If a vehicle is offered at a much cheaper price, ask yourself why. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Make sure the seller has a valid address and telephone number. Always visit the seller at home, and never buy without seeing and driving the vehicle.
  • Be wary of buyers who want to buy the vehicle without seeing it, request upfront shipment payments or private information, display a false sense of urgency or unnecessary details, as it could be a vehicle export scam.
  • Never wire money abroad, as it is often a fraudulent seller.
Tips to help protect your computer
  • Ensure your security software is up-to-date, including anti-virus protection, anti-spyware software, and a firewall.
  • Shop on trustworthy websites. Check the seller’s reputation, and look for the widely-recognised trust marks on their websites.
  • Set a secure password for your wi-fi connection using a combination of letters and numbers.
  • Block spam emails, and use an up-to-date web browser.
Tips to help protect your identity and privacy
  • Don’t let your card out of sight. If you believe your card or card numbers have been stolen, call your card issuer immediately.
  • Beware of phishing emails. Legitimate businesses are unlikely to send emails claiming problems with an order or an account to lure the buyer into revealing financial information.
  • Confirm your purchase is secure. Look in the address box for the ‘S’ in https://, and in the lower-right corner for the lock symbol before paying, to be sure the website is encrypted.
  • Check your bank statements often. Get in touch with your bank or credit card company immediately if you notice a transaction you didn’t make.
  • Protect your personal information. Look at a site’s private policy and understand how your personal information is being used. Sites without a privacy policy should be avoided.
  • Be careful about the personal information you give away online, such as on blogs or social networks.
  • Use a secure password, with a mix of words, letters, numbers and punctuation. Avoid using names of loved ones or other easy-to-guess passwords.
What to do if you think you’re a victim of fraud or cyber crime
If you think you’ve been targeted by a fraudster, contact Auto Trader immediately by emailing, or calling 0330 303 9001.