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5 tips to avoid getting scammed when buying cars from the US

Purchasing cars from the United States is extremely popular around the world. Last year, over 528,000 cars were exported in containers from the United States. If it is your first time buying a vehicle from overseas, how do you avoid being scammed while you're halfway across the world?

Here is what you need to know to avoid getting scammed when purchasing cars from the United States.

1. Google the address

Check the address of the dealership to see whether it is registered to another business. Many scams involve using an address of another legitimate business.

2. Check Google Maps

By searching the address on Google Maps you will be able to get a street view and satellite imagery of the location, allowing you to see if there is actually a dealership there or an empty field.

3. Get a bill of sale

Ensure you get a bill of sale prior to sending the dealership money. Make sure the bill of sale includes a company header, with the correct address, correct purchase amount and a signature. Never wire money to anyone else than what it says on the bill of sale

4. Ask for a copy of the title

In order to export a vehicle from the United States, it must have an original title. To make sure it exists and the dealer has it in hand, always ask for a copy prior to sending funds. 

5. Ask for trade references

Dealers have the incentive to sell you a car, so most will go above and beyond to prove they are a real dealership. You can ask for trade references from banks and nearby businesses. Google the nearest business to the one selling you the car, call them and ask if that dealership exists.

Bonus tip:

Avoid paying local sales tax on the vehicle. Make sure the dealership understands that you will not be driving the vehicle in the US, and that it will be exported right away.