Is this some kind of scam?

I am selling a car and there are people who say I will send you the money via paypal/venmo or cashier check etc and arrange a pick up. These are scam I assume. I mean I am sure I need the buyer to sign the title and all first of all. I am in CA btw.

In my State, the seller signs the title, not the buyer. The buyer can fill out the rest later.
I never trust someone who wants to buy a car sight unseen. Plus, I only take cash. Even something as robust as PayPal can still respond to a complaint. And, be sure to designate this as an “as-is” sale, and keep a copy signed by the buyer.

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I would exercise the normal amount of caution.

Sorry to say this but until you actually receive the “Cash in hand, In good payment” you can’t be sure.

Credit card payment can be reversed especially in the case of Identity Fraud, I print my own check which may or may not be for me and counterfeit Bank drafts aren’t uncommon but once the funds actually appear in your account you have a reasonable expectation that the “funds are good”…

Unfortunately purchasing a car without “good funds” by a remote buyer, leaving the Seller and the Towing Company twisting in the wind isn’t uncommon.
Your best defense is to know the buyer (personal ID, etc.) before releasing the car and/or to wait until your bank confirms that the amount is deposited “in good funds” into your account.

At a maximum it takes a week to confirm and it beats the heck out of trying to chase down a car that’s already gone to Albania or a chop shop in NJ.


Beancounter nailed it See the linked article for ways people can be fraudulently separated from their money…

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Yep, definitely a scam.

I’ve sold 3 cars on Craigslist in the last couple of years. In my experience, 90% of the interactions were with scammers. It’s very frustrating.


Scam likely in the 99th percentile. The way I look at it is that if someone has the funds and the are going to pick the car up then simply bring cash and save any aggravation over cashier checks or card payment reversals.


@gandhi_s-flip-flop You did not say what this vehicle is . If a late model a place like Carmax will buy it and you can leave with a check that is good and no worries . If older insist on cash and have one of those counterfeit pens handy .

Also why do you have your profile hidden ?

I like your car. I will send money. = scam.


And they’ve gotten more clever about it, too. First they ask you a bunch of questions about it, and when you take the time and trouble to reply to all of them, then they pull the “I’ll send a cashier’s check” crap.

OP, one guaranteed flag that it’s a scam before they even reveal the scam is when they ask you to reply to an email address rather than through the Craigslist email system. That’s because they’re trying to avoid leaving evidence of their scam on CL because CL will ban them.


Yeah and they asked me vehicle’s condition and what owner I am on 96 model car :face_with_raised_eyebrow: where I already said everything about the condition on the post. First I thought they were being stupid but obviously they don’t read the post just try to scam by replying.

While it has all of the earmarks of a scam, asking stupid questions is not necessarily an indication of it being a scam. I say that because, back in “the good old days”, prior to Craig’s List and other electronic media, I tried to sell a couple of my old cars via the only method available in those days, namely newspaper ads.

My ads always included ALL of the pertinent info, including make, model, model year, exterior color, interior color, size/type of engine, type of transmission, and odometer mileage. Here are some typical phone calls:

Caller #1: What color is it?
Me: It’s silver, just like it says in the ad
#1: Oh, I wanted a red car… click

Caller #2: Is it a V-8?
Me: No, as the ad states, it’s a six-cylinder
#2: A six? I would NEVER buy a six! … click

Caller #3: How old is the car?
Me: As the ad indicates, it is 7 years old
#3: My father said I shouldn’t buy anything more than 5 years old. … click

Caller #4: Does it have an automatic transmission?
Me: No, just as the ad states, it is a 4-speed manual transmission
#4: (obviously indignant) How do you expect ME to drive a manual transmission?

At that point, I hung up, and resolved to never again try to sell my old cars to bizarre a-holes who either don’t read or are unable to comprehend what they read. In both cases, I wound-up selling the cars to co-workers for a fairly low price, just so that I wouldn’t have to deal with any more crazy callers. And, now that I am retired, I just trade my old cars in, because I no longer have any co-workers.

So… you shouldn’t use the factor of “stupid questions” as the only criterion for deciding whether something is a scam.


Back when I used to sell mostly antique motorcycle parts and a few car parts on eBay I ran into some of the same type of questions.
My ads were always as clear and as concise as possible.

Example. Gas tank cat eye dash. Fits all Harley EL/FL knuckleheads, U/UL/ULH flatheads, WL/G/WLA 45 flatheads from 1939 to 1946.(In a nutshell, it fits everything in that era production line.)

Questions from potential bidders.
Will it fit a 74 inch knucklehead? Yes, that’s what the FL stands for; 74 cubic inches. EL for 61 C.I.
Will it fit a U sidevalve? Yes, that’s what the U represents.Flathead or sidevalve; 6 of one/half dozen…
Will it fit a military 45? Yes, military 45s are WLAs.
Will it fit a ULH which has a different cylinder bore? Yes. Cylinder bore is irrelevant. Chassis is same.
What color is it? See pic in ad. Scruffy paint; needs refinished. It is 60 years old and saw military service in WWII.



It could be; I only sell by meeting at a bank and have the cash deposited to my account or have a cashiers check checked by the bank to see if it is good. there have been a lot of cashiers check frauds lately where it bounces back as unpayable after the “buyer” is gone with the car. Best to only take cash. A genuine buyer won’t mind and it sorts the fraud to a much smaller percentage.

What you described is EXACTLY what happened when we bought a used car for my mom several years ago

We met the seller in the parking lot of a mall, on a sunny day. He made sure to park right in the middle, so that there were plenty of other cars . . . and presumably other people . . . around, so that there would be witnesses in case we were up to no good

I checked out the car . . . I’ll spare you the details . . . and we went on a test drive. Everything was fine, so we decided to buy the car

We all drove the the seller’s bank and conducted business inside. My mom wrote a certified or cashier’s check . . . or whatever you want to call them . . . and the seller’s bank made sure everything was legitimate and that it would go through

The seller said he’d been scammed before and was taking absolutely no chances this time.

Yeah, we didn’t mind at all. The trip to the bank didn’t add that much time.


I buy and sell old motorcycles and scooters on Craigslist a couple of times a year. I’ve learned to be clear in the sell ads:

It’s available. If I sell it I’ll delete the ad.
I want cash only. Good old folding green US currency. Period.
I won’t bargain until you look at it and talk to me in person. Period.
It is what it is, an older, running machine in pretty good shape. Period.

When I get stupid emails I answer with one or two words. Is it available? Yes. Will you take 30% less? No. Will you take a certified check? No. I’m 1000 miles away, will you hold it for a week? No.

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Cash only. Cash only. Cash only – Repeat after me over and over. There is a scam a minute out there. Take the cash to the bank for a counterfeit check before you sign the title. It’s the world we now live in.

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I have actually insisted on being paid in 20’s instead of 100’s, in situations where things just smelled funny. And, living in coastal California, it’s generally a good idea to keep a stash of cash somewhere outside the house so you will be able to get to it after a big earthquake, so being paid in 20’s helps get enough of them together.

As most have noted, Craig’s list is lousy with scammers. I’ve sold some equipment there in the past few years and typically what happens is this.
The first responders express lots in interest and send a cashier’s check. the problem is, the casier’s check is

  1. for much more than you asked for, so you’re expected to send the difference along with the item for sale
  2. Counterfeit.
    They rely on the fact that most people will be greedy enough to think they’re going to get more than they asked for and ship the merchandise and that they can’t tell the difference between a genuine cashier’s check and a fake one.
    If you’re selling on Ebay another common ploy is to send you what looks like an email from PayPal confirming receipt of funds and demanding that you ship the product. Only by checking your PayPal account will you actually know that the funds haven’t actually been sent. Very slick.
    Don’t fall for these, Unfortunately these sites are rife with faudsters.

Thank you for sort of clarifying between funds appearing in your account, and banks confirming “funds are good.” If you have a clean record of not trying to kite checks, a bank or CU might allow you instant access to a deposited check. HOWEVER, if they find out it’s bad later on, they will reverse the transaction, and you will be stuck holding the bag. So it’s best to wait for the check to clear, which might take 2-5 days, depending on banking systems, before releasing the vehicle.

And note that cashiers checks are not a certainty. People think if they demand a cashier’s check rather than a personal check, they’ll be safe because the money has already been withdrawn. But they can be faked, and they often are in Craigslist scams.

When I finally sell a car it’s not worth much, so I demand cash only. Even that’s not completely safe because counterfeiting does exist. I’m not exactly a numismatics expert, especially these days when I hardly ever touch cash, so the counterfeit bill would probably have to be very fake for me to know it. But it’s safer than checks.

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