Reports have emerged from mycarcheck.com of a marked increase in online used vehicle scams. There are three telltale signs of a con in particular:
1. Is the price of the vehicle substantially less than other similar models?
2. Does the number ring out or go to voicemail, prompting you to ‘email the seller’?
3. Are you then offered a vehicle that is abroad but ‘can be shipped to you’?
“The sheer volume of online scams is off the chart this summer, Mark Bailey, the head of mycarcheck.com’s owner, CDL Vehicle Information Systems, said.
“The staff at our Glasgow call centre speak to used vehicle 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.”
With information from the police, DVLA, insurers and finance houses, mycarcheck.com holds comprehensive data on every vehicle on UK roads.