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How to Ensure a Secure RV Sale by Protecting Yourself from Scammers

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Published : July 27, 2023
Protect Yourself From Scammers When Selling Your Old RV

Whether you are an active adventurer or a casual camper, you will eventually have an old RV on your hands as the years go by. What was once shiny and new without mechanical issues will become dull, dented, and troublesome. When your gut tells you it’s time to let go of your unusable trailer, you’ll want to get the best you can. Unfortunately, some less-than-ethical buyers will try and hustle it away from you.

When selling an old RV privately, the best way to protect yourself from scammers is to know their strategies and how to identify when you’re being played quickly. In this article, we’ll give you the knowledge you’ll need to recognize the presence of these hustlers, scammers, and fraudsters and the tactics they employ. Armed with this information, you can avoid professional criminals and sell your worn-out motorhome with the peace of mind you deserve.

How Do I Avoid Online Scams When Trying to Sell a Junk RV?

One of the easiest and most convenient ways to sell just about anything, RVs included, is to do so online. The entire world is plugged into social media platforms, and using your personal accounts is a fast and free way to advertise your junk RV. Other online options are posting on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, eBay Motors, etc.

There are unscrupulous characters that, while hiding behind the anonymity of a computer screen, will appear honest and very interested in purchasing your junk RV. Unfortunately, they are not interested in buying your rig for a good price. They’re interested in getting your personal data and maybe even some of your money.

One of the safest ways to sell your used or junk RV is to sell it to a specialized RV dealership. You’ll be dealing with a trusted professional whose sole interest is in purchasing used RVs in any condition. They’ll handle all the paperwork; many will come directly to you and offer a free tow-away service while leaving you with a more than fair payment.

Common Online Scams to Be Aware of When Selling Your Junk RV

One of the first things you should be aware of when selling your junk RV online is to be careful of how you represent yourself in your post or advertisement. Never include personal information, and keep the ad concise. Online hustlers will scan ads looking for keywords that could appear as if the seller is desperate or can be easily scammed. Words and phrases that should be avoided include:

  • Reduced price
  • Recently widowed
  • Health problems
  • Selling for a sick or elderly parent
  • Must sell

When selling your junk RV online, stick to posting only relevant information. Ads that reek of desperation will attract two types of people; those who will push and intimidate you to lower your price and those who see you as an easy mark to scam.

Asking for Your Personal Data

Once one of these online scammers has contacted you, feigning interest in purchasing your old RV, they may start fishing for your personal information. A common strategy these hustlers use is to say they need your date of birth and bank information so they can vet you to ensure that you are a legitimate seller. Do not release any personal or banking information to them. A prospective buyer doesn’t need your date of birth or other information to complete a sale.

Bank Fraud Attempts

Another common online scam involves the buyer mailing you a bank check to purchase your junk RV despite not meeting you in person and inspecting your rig. They’ll say that a friend will pick it up for them or that they’ll arrange for a shipping company to handle the rig’s delivery. This is a surefire red flag that you’re dealing with a scammer. Very few legitimate buyers purchase an old RV sight unseen.

After giving them your address so they can mail you a check, you’ll discover it’s written for an amount well over the agreed-upon price. Once you question the overpayment, they’ll respond in two ways. They’ll either apologize for the incorrect amount and ask you to wire or cash app them the difference, or they’ll claim the overpayment will be sent to another party who will come and pick up the rig.

Either way, it’s a con. The bank may not immediately discover fraudulent checks, and once they’ve determined it’s a bad one, you’ve already sent the overpayment. These scammers are savvy; your payment most likely went to an offshore or otherwise unretrievable location.

Phishing Attempts

Other possible online scams involve fake RV auctions or selling platforms. They typically advertise or offer their purchasing services on well-trusted websites and ask that you click on a link that’ll take you to their website, which boasts thousands of interested sellers and easy sales. The link will take you to a form asking for personal information, usually your bank’s routing number and account information. Once submitted, the scammers will drain your account.

How Do I Avoid RV Scams When Trying to Sell a Junk RV to a Private Buyer?

Selling an old RV to a private buyer typically involves meeting the prospective buyer in person. While most of them are decent people who are honestly interested in your rig, there’s always the chance that it’s a scammer whose main objective is to hustle you out of money, your rig, or both.

When selling to a private buyer, many RV scams are similar to what could happen when dealing with an online hustler. Never give a random stranger more personal information than required to finalize a sale. If they pressure you for more information, end all contact. A good rule of thumb when selling a rig is that if your gut tells you something isn’t right, it probably isn’t.

Frequently scammers will try to pay you by unorthodox or unusual means. Other than the overpayment by check scam, some will offer to pay you in cryptocurrency or by other questionable currency. Although not always feasible, payment for your old RV should be made in cash. Personal checks may not cover the sale amount or could be fake. Never hand over ownership of your rig until the bank has accepted and deposited the payment into your account.

How to Avoid Being Scammed When Selling an Old RV

When selling an old RV, you’ll often connect with legitimate buyers, honest folks who are interested in your old rig. However, there’s always the chance that Mr. Nice Guy isn’t so nice and he’s looking to hustle you somehow. Savvy sellers know how to protect themselves from scams, but first-time sellers sometimes get conned.

6 Tips to Keep Your Old RV Selling Experience Safe and Scammer-Free

To protect yourself, knowing how these criminals operate can provide you the peace of mind you should expect when dealing with random strangers. Depending on whether you’re trying to complete an online or in-person sale, several red flags could present themselves to you, and they shouldn’t be ignored. Here are some warning signs and suggestions to help you from being scammed.

Trust Your Gut

There’s a lot to be said for going with your instincts. You aren’t obligated to proceed with the sale if you feel uneasy about who you’re dealing with, either in person or online. If your contact up to this point has been online, cease all communication. For those uneasy in-person meetings, politely explain to the prospective buyer that you have others interested in your rig, and you’ll get back to them.

Never Meet a Buyer Alone

All types of shady characters can come out of the woodwork when you’re advertising an old rig for sale. You’ll need to meet with them so they can look at your old RV. Most will be honest buyers looking to buy your nonoperational motorhome, but there’s always a chance that a random weirdo or worse will show up without the best intentions. To stay safe, showing your rig when you have a few friends with you is best. This will dissuade those whose intentions aren’t exactly pure.

Meet Buyers in a Safe Location

If your rig is operable, a safer alternative to giving out your home address to show it is to meet in a safe public location. Mall parking lots offer a haven where there are typically many people and perhaps even surveillance cameras. Scammers and troublemakers are less likely to hassle you in the public’s eye. Some police station parking lots provide safe areas for in-person transactions.

Cash is King

Most scammers try to hustle you out of money or obtain your personal information for evil purposes. Although not always feasible, especially for a pricey sale, cash is the best way to be paid when selling your old rig. Although counterfeit bills are still a thing, it’s not very likely for a thief to try and pay with fakes. They will, however, attempt to hustle you by offering payment in cryptocurrency or other unorthodox ways.

Wait to Hand Over the Title

If the buyer pays you with a personal or bank check, do not immediately hand over the title to your rig. Honest buyers will understand that you’ll want to wait until their check clears the bank, and most won’t hassle you for the title and the keys. Be cautious of any buyer who pressures you to hand over ownership before you’re certain the authorities are involved, and their check is authentic.

Moreover, selling a junk RV – salvaged, totaled, with or without a title – usually means going to the local DMV with the buyer, whether in Texas, Nebraska, Idaho, or Florida. A legal transfer of ownership means filling out paperwork, paying fees, having a governmental official witness the transaction and guide you through the process, etc. Don’t settle for anything less!

Only Advertise on Trusted Platforms

Although there’s still the possibility of being scammed when advertising your rig on trusted platforms, there’s no harm in posting there. However, many phony websites claim to be the best way to sell your junk rig. Some websites will ask you to complete an online form providing your personal data, such as date of birth and banking information. These are to be completely avoided, as all they’re doing is stealing your valuable data.

How To Sell Your Old RV and Avoid Being Scammed: The Bottom Line

It can be far too easy to be scammed when trying to sell your old fifth wheel. From phishing scams to counterfeit checks to the overpayment scam, many sellers of rigs have been conned. Some are so good at the game sellers don’t realize they’ve been played until well after the fact.

No used RV seller wants to be scammed or find themselves vulnerable to scammers after they’ve stolen their personal information. Although most online or in-person sales are relatively safe, the possibility of being taken advantage of does exist. Once you’re money or data has been taken, you’re not left with many options to protect yourself.

The best way to sell your junk RV, regardless of mileage, age, or condition, is to contact a specialized RV dealer. These businesses aren’t looking to scam you in any way, and most have high standards and operate ethically. They’ll even come directly to you and haul away your rig for free while leaving you with a hefty payment by check or payment to your favorite cash app.

Sell your old, junk, unusable, beaten-down, or crashed motorhome safely while enjoying good and fast money in your hand with no hustles and no stress!

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