Commonly used motorcycle scams – Motorbike Writer

Much like the used car market, the second-hand motorcycle market is rife with scams.

Many sellers attempt to shift bikes which are unsafe to drive, have a hidden history and could even be stolen, or they will attempt to steal your money from you before disappearing for good.

The used vehicle market can be a dishonest and dangerous place to conduct business. But by being aware of common scams and how to avoid them, you should be able to find a reliable, safe and affordable motorcycle second-hand.

Here are a few of the more common scams to keep a look out for and how to avoid them when shopping for used bikes.

eBay and Craigslist scam

Ebay and Craigslist have become huge marketplaces for buying and selling used motorcycles. 

Unfortunately, there are many scams out there so always be wary with this route.

One common scam is for the seller to demand a large downpayment to hold the motorbike. Once this has been received, communication will cease and they will disappear.


Clocking involves winding back the odometer to make the bike appear newer (this is also very common with used cars).

Avoid this scam by looking for screwdriver marks around the casing, seeing if the general condition matches the mileage and by checking MOT and service documents to see if the displayed mileage adds up.


You may think that you have found a huge bargain due to the surprisingly low asking price. However, you will then understand why when the police pull you over for riding a stolen bike.

Avoid purchasing a stolen motorbike by carrying out a vehicle history check, which will also uncover anything else that the seller may be trying to conceal.

This is available from companies like HPI in the UK and the Personal Properties Security Register in Australia.

You should also be wary of low prices and sellers attempting to speed up the process.Motorcycle theft stolen motorcycles sick skunklock scams

Escrow scam

This scam is becoming increasingly more common in both the used car and motorbike markets.

Typically, the seller will advertise a bike online and claim that it is currently overseas or at a different location. They say it will be transported once the funds have been transferred to an escrow company.

The bike will not exist and the escrow company will be fake, so you will never see your money again once the seller vanishes after you have made payment.

Avoid this scam by always viewing a bike in person, or insisting that you select the 3rd party if they want to use an escrow.

  • Article written by Will Hope