What do I do if a seller seems suspicious?

If a seller cannot speak with you over the phone or let you inspect the car before purchase and the deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Unfortunately, there are people who try their best to scam others into buying a car that might not be what was really advertised, is stolen or might not exist.



What to look out for from scammers posing as a seller:

  • Someone who cannot meet or speak with you over the phone. 
  • State they are interstate or overseas and are unable to show you the car in person. 
  • Someone who wants to proceed with a sale through a third party company. 
  • Scammers may negotiate on price and will accept your offer willingly or quickly.
  • Scammers may use robotic voice messages asking you to email them.
  • Be wary of legal threats from scammers. They often try to use threats to scare people into parting with money. 

Always try and get in contact with the seller on the phone and plan an inspection to see the car in person before exchanging any money. 

If you are engaged in ongoing communication with a suspicious seller, we urge you to exercise caution. If you feel that something is not right, you are under no obligation to inspect or purchase the car.


Reporting a suspicious seller 

There a several ways you can report a suspicious seller. You can report by selecting the Report/Report this ad button on the ad itself. A pop up box will appear on your screen asking you for some further details about the ad you wish to report. You can find out more on this process here. 

You can also contact our customer care team here. Make sure to include screenshots of the messages. Our team will investigate the message and advise you on its validity. 


Australian Government Websites 

  • Contact the Australian Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (ACCC) on 1300 302 502 
  • Report a scam through Scam Watch 
  • You can also report online fraud to the Australian Government via ReportCyber 
  • Sign up for the ACSC Alert Service 



Related articles: 

Safety tips for buyers 
Phishing Scams: How to tell if an Email/SMS is really from carsales

Any information on this page is provided as a guide only. It is not professional or expert advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The content may not be appropriate, correct or sufficient for your circumstances and should not be relied on as the only reason you do or don’t do anything.
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