A cashier’s check is a common alternative to a personal check when making a large purchase. As a used car seller, you may encounter buyers interested in purchasing your vehicle using this type of check. Avoid cashier check fraud by exploring the features of a check, learning about common scams, and how to use an online platform instead.

All About Cashier’s Checks

Personal checks are signed by an individual who guarantees the payment. A cashier's check is signed by one or more cashiers at a bank and guaranteed by the bank. As long as the check is legitimate and the buyer isn’t attempting a scam, this can be a convenient payment option. It may be less stressful than handling a car loan or taking large amounts of cash to your bank.

Why Buyers May Use Cashier’s Checks

Pulling out thousands of dollars of cash can be difficult and risky. Some buyers aren’t willing to travel around with loads of cash, especially if they’re making an out-of-state purchase. Cashier’s checks offer a reliable way to carry a large amount of money discreetly. They’re also easier to track than an envelope full of cash if stolen.

Common Used Car Check Fraud Examples

While a cashier’s check is in theory just as safe as cash, there are a growing number of ways to commit cashier check fraud. Learn more about these scams before signing over the title or accepting a check. Consider asking for a safer way to receive the full payment for your used vehicle to avoid these and other scams.

Overpaying for Your Vehicle

Perhaps the most common scam with a cashier’s check is overpaying and asking for cashback. In this scam, your buyer may ask you to cash a check written for a higher amount than the negotiated price of your used car.

A fraudulent buyer may have a number of excuses why you should cash the check. Some claim that the higher price was an accident, but ordering a corrected cashier’s check is too inconvenient. Others create a complicated scenario where they need the additional amount in cash and only you can help.

Regardless of the reason, this is usually a scam. In most cases, it’s a forged document that won’t be accepted by your bank. The scammer typically tries to pressure you into sending cash or a wire transfer before you realize that you won’t be receiving any money from the check.

Cashier’s Check Fraud in Used Car Sales, Explained

Using an Escrow Service

A more complicated scam involves a fake escrow service. This service may be recommended by the buyer or you may come upon it yourself from a third-party scammer. Reputable escrow services collect payment from buyers and verify the full payment to protect both buyer and seller.

Fraudulent services, however, collect payments from the buyer and then disappear with the money. Be sure you work with a reputable online platform, like PrivateAuto, to avoid this unfortunate incident. Some would-be buyers actually set up this scam to try to take your used vehicle without paying for it, but some buyers are unwitting victims just like you.

Signs of a Fake Cashier’s Check

Look for fake check signs to avoid being scammed when selling your used car. Cashier’s checks include a number of safety features. Just like cash or personal checks, you should be able to tell whether you’re holding a genuine item. Here are some features to search if you’ve been given a cashier’s check:

  • Legitimate bank name, address, and phone number
  • Payee name
  • Exact amount for your used vehicle
  • Watermark, microprint, or other safety features

Some fake checks use a legitimate bank name but include a personal phone number where an individual will attempt to impersonate a bank employee. When in doubt, look up the actual customer service number for the bank printed on the check. You can ask the bank itself for its authenticity.

Unfortunately, just because the money is deposited in your bank doesn’t mean the check is good. Banks are required to have your money available in days, but a well-forged check can take as long as two weeks to be identified. While the bank may attempt to track down the scammer, you’ll be required to pay the bank back for the funds, since they were never truly in your account.

Reporting a Fake Check

A fake cashier’s or personal check is a serious offense. If you believe you’ve received a fake check, or are being asked to accept one by a seller you think is a scammer, reach out. Report a fake check or other money scams to the Federal Trade Commission. This is the safest way to ensure the individual won’t continue to scam others.

You don’t need to receive a fake check in order to report a scam. Reach out if you believe you’re communicating with a fake buyer or if you’re being pressured into accepting one of the common check scams.

Avoid Fraud by Selling with PrivateAuto

Don’t fall for cashier check fraud. List and Sell your vehicle on a safe platform and enjoy reliable fund transfer services. At PrivateAuto, you can list your used vehicle, communicate with verified buyers, and sign required documents after being assured of the funds.

Prepare for even more safety and convenience with PrivateAuto premium services. Coming spring 2021, you can sell your vehicle with the following features:

  • Direct banking integration
  • Buyer financing options
  • Verified buyer funds
  • Instant electronic transfer of funds

Explore premium services today to prepare for the launch of these excellent new features coming to PrivateAuto. Get the most for your used vehicle and avoid common cashier check fraud with a dedicated online platform.