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Autotrader Scams


Autotrader Scams

Tips for trading safely

Tips for safer buying

Tips for safer selling


Recommended payment

More information

Unfortunately, not all traders are genuine, and from time to time various scams are in operation.

For example, Autotrader has received reports of cars advertised with unusually low sale prices. Emails or texts provide detailed information on the vehicle, which is often located abroad, and pressure the buyer into making a payment to secure the car for a viewing.

Other customers have received emails or texts asking to confirm or supply a website login or credit card details.

While we run suspect trader processes and work with the police with our database, you should always be aware of the too good to be true ad. Do not put any monies into non NZ bank accounts, or give your personal details over email.

Whether you are buying or selling, do not reply to any emails or texts that are from “Autotrader” congratulating you for buying or even selling your vehicle.

Always report fraud and doubtful items or traders to us:

Tips for safer buying

Don't rush to buy if the advertisement seems too good to be true and be suspicious if a vehicle is advertised at a very low price. Cross-check information on the internet and see if anyone else has had problems.

Find out who you are dealing with: look for evidence of a physical NZ address and contact phone number. Ring to check it is legitimate.

Never agree to deposit money in a bank account unless completely sure the advertisement and seller are legitimate.

Avoid paying for goods via any sort of international money transfer, i.e Western Union, Moneygram, etc. These transactions cannot be traced. Paypal is used internationally, but is not common in NZ. Read any feedback relating to the account.

Hoax, counterfeit, bogus and stolen vehicles and items can slip through and appear as the real deal. It is important to read the advertisement description carefully and ask questions. If possible, check registration status, any finance owing, and whether the vehicle has been reported as stolen.

Tips for safer selling

Protect yourself against unauthorised access to your advertisement by only logging on through an Autotrader URL i.e. If you think your advertisement has been accessed by an unauthorised person contact the Autotrader customer support team on 0800 872 337, or email us directly.

Do NOT respond to text messages asking you to sign up to another site to authorise payment.

Find out who you are dealing with. Ask for a name and contact phone number, and ring the number to check if it is legitimate.

Some sellers receive requests from bidders in foreign countries (often in Africa) to accept foreign cashier's checks as payment for their items. Some of the requests offer to "overpay" for an item, and ask the seller to wire the overpayment back to the buyer through services such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Sellers should never accept overpayments from buyers for items where the buyer is asking to be reimbursed for overpayment.

Before you agree to a test drive check your insurance – comprehensive insurance policies generally cover test drives but you should check to make sure your insurance covers you. Also check the driver’s insurance and write down their licence number.

Obtain something of value, i.e. keys as security for the test drive (even if you go along for the test drive).


Phishing scams attempt to deceive you into giving away financial account numbers, passwords and other valuable private information. Scammers send a hoax email pretending to be from a legitimate company and request you to click on a link. This will either install malicious software onto your computer or direct you to a false website, where you are asked to provide valuable private information. These details are then fraudulently used.

Protect yourself against phishing by:

  • Only open email attachments and links if you’re expecting them and know what they contain
  • When responding to emails, never provide login details or personal information
  • When accessing websites that require you to provide important information, always type the regular URL into a fresh web browser (or use your favourites menu)
  • Never enter personal information in a pop-up screen
  • Know that phishing can happen on the phone
  • Protect your computer with spam filters, and up to date anti-virus and anti-spyware software
  • Act immediately if you’ve been scammed and notify the organisation that has been misrepresented

Recommended payment methods

Some payment options offer more protection than others, so be sure to select a method of payment that makes you feel comfortable. Payment options include:

  • Pay on pick-up – really good for higher value goods and for local buying. You’ll be able inspect the goods to ensure they are as advertised
  • Cash – used for thousands of years and still going. We suggest you get a receipt.
  • Cheque – recommended if agreeable to the seller. You give or send the seller a personal or bank cheque to pay for the item. Most banks will allow you to cancel a cheque before it is cashed if a problem arises.
  • Internet bank payment – deposit the payment directly into the seller's bank account through internet banking. You’ve got the seller's bank account number, which is of course traceable. Do not put any monies into non NZ bank accounts.
  • Credit card - you can benefit from your credit card’s protection clauses. However, we suggest you find out the detail of the protection from your credit card issuer.

Links for more information:


It is essential for you to trust the seller – and be sure the car is genuine – before parting with any money, even a small deposit.

Auto Trader New Zealand