Expert Tips to Scam-Proof Your JDM Imports 

The JDM industry is renowned worldwide for its high-quality, reliable, and performance-driven cars, both new and used. Over 50,000 used vehicles are exported monthly from Japan to various countries like Australia, South America, and Dubai. According to Statista, Japan exported an impressive $3.82 million worth of motor vehicles in 2021. 

While online services by used car exporters and auction halls have streamlined the process, this convenience comes with a caveat – the risk of fraudulent schemes. Online platforms may entice buyers with irresistible discounts or unbelievably low prices, which can often conceal subterfuge such as masked paint jobs, inaccuracies in inspection reports, manipulated mileage readings, and, in the worst cases, sellers who vanish after they’ve pocketed your hard-earned money. Buyers must exercise caution and follow best practices to avoid falling victim to scams. 


3 Things to Watch for When Buying a JDM 

When importing JDMs, vigilance is your best defense against potential scams. Let’s uncover the key points you need to keep in mind. 


Verify Exporter Details 

Often, scammers impersonate reputable companies, and lack any genuine information about the company they claim to be. Before diving into a website’s listings, verify their details. Mismatched information should be a red flag, signaling potential fraud.  

Start by exploring used car portal sites to gather information about exporters, such as company details, address, email, and telephone numbers. Cross-check their details on search engines, verify their credentials on platforms like JETRO or JUMVEA, and assess their establishment history to gauge their reputation. Observe the exporter’s stock over several days, taking note of any fluctuations or new additions, as this signals their active involvement in the business. 

A prudent approach would be to check the dealer’s track record by speaking directly to existing customers. Their firsthand experiences can provide valuable insights into the exporter’s reliability and professionalism. Always opt for established and reputable exporters, as they prioritize goodwill and quality service.  


Dig Deep on Vehicle Details 

Gaining access to comprehensive details, complete with crystal-clear visual documentation of every facet you wish to scrutinize, stands as a mission-critical step. To ensure a legitimate transaction, thorough inquiry and learning are essential. Imagine you are physically present in the dealer’s yard, and you’re driven by the same curiosity.  

Certification, logbooks, VINs, inspection sheets, auction sheets and ownership validation are all important to understand the vehicle’s history and legal status. Inspection sheets, in particular, provide valuable insights into the car’s condition, both inside and out, often featuring the verification of the chassis number. These documents are your guarantee that what you’re paying for aligns with what you expect, as all used cars undergo thorough inspections, interior and exterior assessments, and chassis number verification.  

Japanese auction sheet

Don’t be swayed by the JDM’s outward charm alone. It’s essential to explore what’s beneath the surface, uncovering any potential mechanical issues or a history of accidents. This valuable information is accessible through the examination of the vehicle’s records, and it’s a right you should firmly exercise. 

If you need assistance with auction reports or any other verification, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Your confidence is our priority! 

The Payment Process 

Here’s where utmost caution is required, as it’s where most individuals fall into traps. If you come across a price difference of more than 2-5%, be cautious. Deals that seem too good to be true can be deceiving.  

Fraudulent sellers may drastically slash their prices and eagerly entertain further price negotiations, setting an enticing but deceptive trap. It’s best to cross-check prices with other exporters. Choosing a trusted exporter, even if it means a slightly higher cost, is often the safest option. If the seller suggests depositing funds into an offshore account, even one in your country, be cautious. Likewise, if they propose using a different bank for the transaction, consider it a potential red flag. These signals often point to sellers operating outside Japan, elevating the risk of engaging with an unscrupulous entity.  

As an added layer of protection, consider employing an escrow service when making payments. This will ensure that neither party is at a disadvantage. 


When it comes to importing JDM cars, safeguarding your investment is not just wise; it’s essential. Knowledge is your power in this arena. Consider using an import broker, especially if you’re new to the game. They streamline the process, help you find the perfect vehicle, and save you money on shipping. At Jap Division, we specialize in making this journey effortless, whether you’re a pro or new to the import world. Explore our diverse listings to turn your dream into a reality. 


Expert Tips to Scam-Proof Your JDM Imports