I think scammers are a bit more prevalent than people realize. When selling my 69 Pontiac, I had a handful of potential buyers from out of state that I just had a really bad feeling about it. One of them was even willing to buy it sight unseen, no inspection and would have his lawyer send a purchase agreement. That one felt kinda off. Face to face with cash is always the safest bet.
If there was ever an article that should be mailed to "all" HAGERTY customers this is the one. The descriptions offered as well as comments from those who experienced "SCAM'S" like this could be invaluable. Great article and many thanks to all who post stories. The one key that I would use is the "Approved Appraiser/Inspector" who goes out and does what he is paid to do. Small investment that makes sure you end up getting what you want and pay for.
Speak to your bank to ensure you know exactly when they will get the money. You can do a wire transfer with a seller, a cashier's check, or cold hard cash. Depends on how much the vehicle is worth and where the buyer is located. Again, just talk to your bank.
I definitely agree with your comment about evaluating the seller. When I buy a car or motorcycle I give 50% of the weight to my judgement of the seller. If I don't feel good about the seller I don't bother considering what they are selling. I have sold a number of motorcycles and cars on the internet. When I do I ask for a $500 nonrefundable deposit. However if they show come to get the bike/car and don't like it for any reason I will refund the deposit and cancel the sale. If they don't show up I will keep the deposit. I have never had to refund a deposit or keep one for failure to show up. If your are scammed on an internet deal you can file a claim with the FBI on this website: https://www.ic3.gov/Home/FileComplaint I have used it and it does work but it is best to have written details of the transaction(emails, text & etc.).
UGH! Except for the elderly who often place too much trust in the internet, I have little sympathy for people who fall for this nonsense. Think back a few decades before the internet made sending money and images to distant locations easy and cheap: would anyone mail a bag of cash to an unknown recipient far away and expect a valuable asset to appear? It's the exact same idea. People so gullible don't deserve to be in charge of money. Even today if it's a vehicle you really want at an attractive price, take a few days and GO SEE IT. I have no experience with Carvana but if a seller can't produce a title in exchange for money it's effectively a stolen car.