Car sale scam: AA warns vehicle sellers lose £3million a year due to little-known fraud

Car sellers could fall victim to a vehicle matching scam where owners are cold-called promising to have found several buyers interested in the car. The caller then asks the owner to hand over a matcher’s fee before details of the buyer are revealed and the sale is completed. 


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However in these cases there is no buyer and the contact with the vehicle matcher cannot be cancelled meaning owner’s cannot get their money back. 

The AA has revealed private sellers of second hand cars could lose up to £100 each on the scheme but losses may be higher in some cases. 

Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre warns drivers that this matching scam is a type of advance fee fraud where money is demanded upfront. 

Action Fraud says vehicle matching scammers usually target drivers who may have placed an advert to sell their vehicle. 

Car buyers could also face similar scams where tables are reversed and scammers target those looking to purchase a vehicle. 

Last month Greater Manchester Police (GMP) warned drivers that a range of online vehicle adverts were false to trick buyers into handing out personal information. 

Fraudsters could use the coronavirus pandemic to their advantage to trick motorists in both scams. 

Fraudsters could try and take advantage of motorists’ financial concerns to push them into a vehicle matching scam as drivers are desperate to receive a financial boost. 

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Cash-strapped motorists may be so desperate to sell their vehicle that they do not see how the cold caller could be a dangerous scam. 

With many still worried about social distancing, online adverts may look like a safer option despite the risk of being conned. 

Detective Sergeant Shannon from GMP warned there had been a “change” in scams targeting drivers as many fraudsters took advantage of the pandemic. 

She warned drivers to properly of the consequences before they make a purchase and part with their money. 


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She said: “We are seeing a change [in] scams where criminals are using coronavirus as a cover story. 

“I would encourage people to take the time to think before they part with their hard earned money or sensitive information and if you are unsure speak to someone you trust.”

To help motorists avoid the dangerous car scams, GMP urged drivers to not feel pressured when making any advance payments. 

They warn driver’s should be cautious if they receive unexpected contact from anyone and especially if they claim to be from the DVLA or a car insurance firm. 

GMP urges motorists to use the DVLA’s online vehicle enquiry service to find out as much information as they can about a vehicle they are looking to buy. 

They urge driver’s to check the vehicle thoroughly and ensure that documentation such as the log book appears genuine. 

GMP say driver’s who make a purchase should always pay useg a method that can be fully tracked if it needs to be.

A credit card payment can be traced by officers whereas a cash payment would be almost impossible to identify. 

Motorists who believe they have been the victim of a scam should report their suspicions to the police. 

Cases are then reported to Action Fraud who will look into the reports and investigate who may be behind the crimes.  

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