Selling a vehicle online? Be on the lookout for the Vehicle History Check Scam!

The Setup

The scam starts with a potential buyer, texting or emailing you about your used vehicle. They will be very interested in closing the sale, will probably not haggle, and offer to pay your price in cash. Sounds really good, right? But their only requirement is to get a vehicle history report, first.

And that’s perfectly reasonable for anyone to ask for. But the scammers will be specific in asking that you go to a particular VIN-checking website you’ve never heard of before. They will assure you that it’s quick and easy and only costs $26 or so. Some examples of these scam vehicle history websites include:

The Big Mistake

When someone is convinced to use such a site, the potential buyer disappears right after the report is paid for, and the seller is left hanging. The damage is done, but what exactly is the damage? If this happens to you, the possibilities are:

  • You’ve wasted some time & hope while selling your car, and been taken for $26 (or more).
  • Scammers now have your phone number and email, to share with other scammers.
  • Criminals now know enough about you and your car to commit some real crime (identity theft) against you.

Protect Yourself

It’s likely that you’ll have to provide a vehicle history report for a private used auto sale. So you have to make sure that you’re using a reputable one. Carfax is fine, but make sure to go to and not some similar-looking impostor. And if you need other legit title checking resources, this government website will give you trustworthy alternatives.

And if a buyer pushes a particular website on you to use, just say No Thanks and move on.