How to steer clear of fraud when buying a used car

“When I bought a used car privately last year, everything went so smoothly. The car drove great, my mechanic gave it the thumbs up, the price was good. Then a month after the sale, a bailiff showed up to tow my car away. Turns out the seller had stopped making payments on their car loan, and the lender had a lien on the car that I didn't know about. I had no idea a lender could just take the car even though I didn’t owe them a cent.”

– William, Richmond, BC

British Columbians are twice as likely to buy a used vehicle as to buy a new one. There are some compelling reasons why (it’s cheaper!). But there are also more risks when buying used, especially when buying from a private seller. Whoever you’re buying from, here are six steps you can take to reduce the chances of being a victim of fraud when buying a used car.

How to protect against fraud

  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in October 2022
  • Time to read: 5 minutes

Reviewed for legal accuracy by

Mario Garcia, CarbonCure Technologies

Mario Garcia

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