Car thieves are targeting used cars for sale

With many South Africans now working from home and using their cars less often, an increasing number of households are considering selling one of their cars to free up some extra cash. If this is the case for your family, be aware that car thieves are targeting used cars for sale in the latest test-drive scam. 

Many people choose to sell their cars privately because there is a chance to make more money in a private sale, however second-hand car dealerships and private sellers are being approached by potential clients who request a test drive and then steal the car, sometimes even pretending to be hijacked. Vehicle Tracking company, Tracker SA, recently released a statement with the following safety precautions for a private sale:

  • Protect your personal information – Don’t give out too much information when selling your car, whether in the advert or talking over the phone with potential buyers. Criminals could use it against you. Also, make sure any photos you post online don’t have geotag data embedded in them, which could give away your home address.
  • Don’t meet the buyers at your home – You won’t normally invite strangers to visit your home, so don’t do it while selling your car. Rather take the car and meet the buyers at a shopping complex or similar public place. Choose a place that is busy, and preferably one with video surveillance.
  • Set appointments during the day – Rather meet potential buyers during daylight hours. Criminals like to use the cover of darkness.
  • Buddy up – Get a friend to go along with you. Also, let someone that won’t be going with you know of the plans. Get them to give you a call after a specified time to check that everything is okay. Some tracking services have apps that you can use to share your location with such a person. They can then follow your route and know where you are at all times.

A private sale is when you sell your car directly to the purchaser. Many people choose this option because you have a better chance of getting the best price for your car and the sale can also be wrapped up quickly. However, as explained above, it’s important to be security conscious. 

Another option is to sell your car through a wholesaler, or dealer in previously loved cars. MotorHappy offers this service through our website. Simply click here to load a photo of your car and all the details, and our partners will offer you an evaluation and facilitate the sale.  

There is also the option to sell your car through an auction. After conducting some research into the different car auctioneers, make your choice and then take your car to the company’s premises for inspection. There is no guarantee that you will get the best price for your car, but it is usually a quick sale. All the work related to the sale of your car will be handled by the auction company, and they take responsibility for getting the payment and paying it to you, taking a commission of their own of course.

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