New and old car sales scams
There are a number of new and elaborate methods being used by criminals in order to take advantage of would-be buyers, according to Cartell.ie. The warning comes on top of information revealing that consumers are still being caught out by some of the common scams that have long been used in the private car marketplace.
Cartell.ie warns would-be buyers to be extra vigilant when purchasing and to take more care when viewing a car. Many stolen vehicles are often cloned to appear like a legitimate car by having false registration plates fitted and these cars may also have the VIN (chassis) number changed to reflect what the Vehicle Registration Certificate (VRC) should say.
It is vital that these identifiable numbers are checked and that the VIN plate on the car, which often is visible at the base of the windscreen, not only matches that stamped into the chassis, usually in the engine bay, but that these show no sign of being tampered with in any way. A telltale sign is scratches or metal shavings around these areas. It is also vital that the seller's name and details match those in the VRC document and that this is backed up by way of a positive form of identification. Any honest seller will have no issue with this, but if you are in any doubt then it is best to walk away.
A tactic being used to catch out sellers is the use of fake bank drafts to purchase the vehicle outside of banking hours, making it impossible for the seller to verify its validity. The temptation to get a quick sale may be high for some sellers but the risk is they could be left with a worthless bank draft and no car. Ideally, in this instance sellers should arrange a time when they can go to the bank branch with the buyer and conduct the transaction there.
In some cases, the scammers don't even have the car that is being offered for sale. Instead they have simply copied the advertisement of a car that may be offered for sale legitimately. These individuals then request for money to be deposited into an account in order to hold or reserve a vehicle. Under no circumstances should you consider depositing money into a seller's account without being fully assured that all aspects of the sale have been diligently checked and confirmed.
Buyers should be very wary if using cash as payment as there have been a number of cases reported whereby the seller presents the vehicle and asks to check the buyer's cash, stating that they "have been caught out before". With this the seller then makes a hasty getaway with the would-be buyer's cash and the car, leaving the victim with no clear method of identifying the thief.
John Byrne, Legal and PR Manager, Cartell.ie says: "The purchase of a car is a major transaction and for some it may be their first time, or, it may have been years since they last entered the market. It's important to first verify all documentation, before considering payment, and keep the transaction at arm's length - in other words don't be too trusting of the other party - make sure everything is right before handing over your money or accepting a bank-draft."
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