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Beware of online used car scams

Buy a car privately online can be risky.Experts report that used vehicle scams are becoming increasingly common.

According to mycarcheck.com, which holds comprehensive records for every vehicle in use in the UK, there are three signs to watch for in particular:

  • Is the car significantly cheaper less than other similar models?
  • Does the number go to a voicemail that asks you to ‘email the seller’?
  • Are you then offered a car that is overseas but ‘can be shipped to you’?

“The sheer volume of online scams is off the chart this summer, with seasonal favourites like convertibles, camper vans and motor homes being targeted,” Mark Bailey, the head of mycarcheck.com’s parent company, CDL Vehicle Information Systems, said.

“The staff at our Glasgow call centre speak to used car buyers every day, often when they’re about to transfer money, so our finger is very much on the pulse when it comes to the latest scams.From early this year we saw a significant rise in fraudulent online adverts, but from May onwards it really ramped up – not only for the usual cars, vans and bikes, but for plant and agricultural vehicles too.

“Sophisticated con artists, often operating in organised criminal gangs, can create scam adverts very quickly and on an industrial scale, even setting up whole fake dealer websites.At first glance, they look realistic; they cut and paste wording from genuine adverts and add features like make and model searches to appear more convincing.

“If you encounter any of the above, and certainly all three in order, it should serve as a red flag that you are being lined up.The best advice remains: if in doubt, walk away.”