Safety and Fraud Center
Choose a Topic
- Fraud Awareness Guidelines
- Guidelines for Safe Transactions
- Guidelines for Buyers
- Guidelines for Sellers
- Staying Safe Online
- How to Report Fraud
Trader Interactive websites provide advertising for sellers of vehicles, both recreational and commercial, from private parties and dealers.
Any information in an advertisement or communications with a seller is provided by the seller.
Knowledge and awareness are the best defense to prevent fraud. Online shopping is convenient and easy. Most buyers and sellers are honest, but occasionally an unscrupulous person will use the Internet to attract a victim. Don’t be a victim!
Please be aware that Trader Interactive and its affiliate websites:
- WILL NEVER ask you for your password or PIN
- DO NOT own, buy or sell vehicles listed on our website.
- DO NOT participate in transactions between buyers and sellers in any way.
- DO NOT offer “Buyer Protection”, “Escrow” Services or any type of “Certification.”
- DO NOT give instructions on how or where to send in payments.
- DO NOT offer vehicle shipping or warehousing services.
- DO NOT provide warranties or inspections of vehicles.
- DO NOT ask for personal or financial information via email.
Send and receive payment safely. Consider these tips in order to send or receive payment safely.
- If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. Maintain a healthy skepticism, and avoid sending any personal or financial information (such as your social security number or bank account number) to a seller over the phone or via email.
- Verify the Buyer or Seller’s identity. Do addresses and names match up in public records or directories? It is even better to meet the seller in person in a safe place, if possible.
- Be cautious of an individual posing as an “agent” representing a buyer or seller, or when dealing with someone outside your country.
- Do not make a purchase only from photos. A photo does not verify the existence or quality of an item. See the item in person, or purchase a third-party inspection to verify the item.
- If using an escrow service for payment of the transaction, verify that it is a reliable service. Never visit an escrow service site via a link in an email. Always go directly to the site, by typing in the URL. Do not use an escrow service recommended by the seller.
- Fraudulent deals may involve shipping, overpayment or cashier’s checks. Unusual requests involving the transaction may be a sign of a potential scam.
- Do not wire money for any transaction whether you are a buyer or seller without first verifying the identity of the person you are dealing with.
- Do not wire money for any transaction that initially began with an overpayment or with payment to a shipper or pick up agent.
- If presented with an “invoice” from PayPal or other payment service, verify it is genuine.
- Use your best judgment in all transactions.
- Report suspected fraudulent activity to [email protected]
- For more details see the Recommendations for Buyers and Recommendations for Sellers below.
Know the vehicle’s market value
Be very suspicious of any vehicle priced significantly below market value. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Inspect the vehicle
Have a professional mechanic or inspection service inspect the vehicle to identify problems. However, an inspection doesn’t guarantee a vehicle is free from defects or any existing problems.
Confirm contact information
Verify the seller’s physical address and phone number BEFORE SENDING PAYMENT. Zip codes, area codes and addresses should match up.
Use email wisely
Do not send personal or financial information (such as your social security number, credit card number or checking account number) to a seller via email. Email communications are not secure.
Do not use money transfer services, such as Western Union to pay for online purchases
Even Western Union recommends against using their service or similar services to pay for online purchases. Be cautious about any seller who will only accept a money transfer.
If using an escrow service for payment, make sure it is a reputable, valid escrow service
Some buyers, purchasing outside their local area, may consider using an escrow service. If so, make sure it is a legitimate service. Go directly to the website of the escrow service. Do NOT go to an escrow service through a link in the seller’s e-mail or use a service based on a referral from the seller. Check the web address to make sure you are at the valid website.
Get a detailed receipt
Ask the seller for a receipt that states whether the vehicle is being sold with a warranty or “as is.”
Get title to the vehicle
Make sure you know what’s required in your state to transfer title to the vehicle you’re buying.
Confirm contact information
Be wary of buyers willing to purchase your item sight-unseen, especially buyers located overseas. Always verify the buyer’s street address and valid phone number.
Verify that a certified check is genuine
Verify authenticity with the issuing bank prior to depositing a certified check. Make sure the account contains sufficient funds and the issuing bank guarantees payment on the check. Once deposited in your account, it may take a week or more for the check to clear. Acceptance by your bank does not guarantee the check is valid and funds are available. A cashier’s check can take 30 days or more to clear.
Secure payment first
Do not transfer the title until you have payment in hand at the agreed upon price (and you have verified that the payment is valid.
Beware of overpayment or other complicated payment schemes
Do not agree to any plan where the buyer asks to send a check for more than the sale price and requests that the seller refund the difference. Be suspicious of any buyer who proposes making payment through a friend or agent of the buyer.
Passwords, PINs, and Usernames
- Never give out your usernames, passwords, or PINs to anyone.
- Always make sure they are a combination of letters and numbers.
- Change them as frequently as you can, and don’t use the same pins or password for different accounts.
- REMEMBER – Trader Interactive (or its affiliated websites) will NEVER ask for your password or PIN.
- Be cautious about opening email attachments. Always make sure you scan them with anti-virus software first. Do not click on links within unsolicited email.
- Do not click links inside an email you do not know is legitimate, even if it is sent from someone you know. Viruses are often hidden in seemingly harmless programs that people share for fun. Because many viruses make use of peoples’ address books, you may receive virus emails from people you know.
- Contact the sender to make sure the email is legitimate, and scan it carefully. Avoid having email programs set to preview email, as this can open a virus email before you have a chance to scan it.
- Never send credit card numbers via email.
- When purchasing from a website, make sure it is a secure site before submitting credit card information. Look for the tiny padlock icon that symbolizes a secure site or the web address starts with “https” (The “s” denotes a secure site).
- Credit card purchases can usually be disputed with the credit card company if a problem arises.
- If purchasing outside your local area, consider using a legitimate escrow service . Go to the escrow service’s website directly. Do not go to the website through a link in an email or use a service recommended by the seller.
Beware of Text Message Fraud.
- We have become aware of Over Payment fraud attempts that begin with a text message. This fraud will involve an over payment for the item you are selling with instructions to wire the additional funds (the amount over your selling price) to the buyer’s pickup agent or inspector. The current trend involves the buyer using a fake PayPal invoice to lure the seller into a false sense of security. If you receive a text message and/or email using this scenario, please forward the telephone number the text was received from and any pertinent information to [email protected] .
Anti-Virus Software/Anti-Spyware and Firewalls
- Protect your computer by using the most updated versions of anti-virus software to scan your system and e-mail for malicious viruses.
- Use anti-spyware or adware programs to remove programs that track your Internet activity.
- Use a firewall to make your computer invisible to outside attackers.
- A firewall is especially critical if you have your computer on a cable or DSL Internet connection that is constantly connected to the Internet.
Security Updates for Operating Systems/Browsers
- Make sure to download, and install security updates for all browsers and operating systems in use on your computer frequently.
- Keeping browser versions up-to-date is critical to computer security, and proper functionality of the latest security elements used in Internet e-commerce.
File a report. File a report at www.ic3.gov with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Administration (BJA). IC3 gives victims of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism. IC3 in turn alerts authorities by referring reports to the correct law enforcement or regulatory agencies at the federal, state, local and international level.
Let us know about it. If you receive a suspicious email, report it to Trader Interactive immediately. Forward the email to [email protected]. Do not change the subject line or send it as an attachment. Simply forward the suspicious email message to us. We will contact you if we need additional information.
Visit the Sites Below to Learn More About Internet Fraud
Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
File a complaint
Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Be a Smarter Consumer
Tips to Avoid Online Escrow Fraud
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Consumer Information to Guard Against Fraud
Protect Yourself From Fraud
Important Information About Fraudulent Escrow Sites
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Fake Seals and Phony Numbers: How Fraudsters Try to Look Legit