Top tips to stay safe online when buying a car

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.

First published: 13th July 2015
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. Be wary of mobile phone numbers, 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 – it could be a vehicle export scam
  • Never wire money abroad as it is often a fraudulent seller
Protect your computer
  • Ensure the security software is up-to-date, including anti-virus protection, anti-spyware software and a firewall
  • 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
  • Encrypt your wireless network to protect against eavesdroppers and freeloaders
  • Visit for more information on protecting your computer
Protect your identity and privacy
  • Avoid identity theft by using an up-to-date web browser and blocking bogus emails with a spam filter
  • 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
  • Be careful about the personal information you give away online (such as on blogs and social networking sites)
What to do if you think you’re a victim
If you think you’ve been targeted by a fraudster, contact Auto Trader immediately by emailing or calling 0330 303 9001.