Motorists are being warned to be on their guard this summer after a marked increase in the number of online used vehicles scams. The message comes from used vehicle checker My Car Check, which claims to hold comprehensive data on every vehicle on UK roads.
Mark Bailey, head of CDL Vehicle Information Systems, which owns My Car Check, said: “The sheer volume of online scams is off the chart this summer, with seasonal favourites like convertibles, campervans and motorhomes being targeted.
“The staff at our Glasgow call centre speak to used car buyers every day, often when they’re about to transfer money, so we have our finger 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, every sector you can think of.
“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.”
How sophisticated are they? “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.”
Too good to be true?
According to My Car Check, there are three questions to ask yourself when looking at a used car, namely:
- Is the vehicle being offered for a price that seems too good to be true?
- Does the telephone number on the ad ring out or go to voicemail, prompting you to email the seller?
- Are you then offered a vehicle that is abroad but can be shipped to you?
The best advice remains: if in doubt, walk away.