Metro Bank, in its “Scam of the Month” for September 2023, is warning drivers about the increasing number of second-hand car scams. This comes as approximately one million drivers are set to take possession of their new cars with the 73 licence plates from September.
The scams can take various forms, particularly with the release of the new licence plates. Scammers take advantage of the seasonal influx in car sales by offering attractive deals on vehicles, which often turn out to be non-existent. These fraudulent deals are typically advertised on online auction sites like eBay and Gumtree or through social media. The scammers use images from genuine sellers to deceive buyers into believing that they are purchasing a real vehicle.
Baz Thompson, Head of Fraud & Investigations at Metro Bank, has highlighted the importance of being extra cautious during this time of year. Thompson emphasizes that scammers are well aware of the high demand for used cars when new licence plates are released.
One common tactic employed by criminals is the creation of cloned websites with slight alterations to the URL. These websites aim to trick drivers into thinking that they are buying from a legitimate source.
For drivers looking to lease or finance a vehicle, there is also a risk associated with this method. Criminals can pose as leasing or finance companies and convince individuals to pay a deposit. However, the victims never receive the promised vehicle.
To help drivers identify second-hand car scams, Metro Bank provides several red flags to watch for. These include vehicles being sold at significantly cheaper prices than the market average, sellers requesting payment through bank transfers, recently launched websites, suspicious social media posts or ads, unexpected contacts or deals, promises of shipping the vehicle with the option to return if not satisfied, pressure to make quick decisions, and the absence of credit or affordability checks when leasing or financing, as well as offers of extremely low or no deposit options.
To protect oneself from these scams, it is essential to investigate further and exercise caution when encountering any of these red flags. Additionally, checking the market rate of similar vehicles on trusted websites such as www.webuyanycar.com or www.parkers.co.uk can help determine if a deal is too good to be true.
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