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Have you fallen for a car buying scam

Nobody wants to be taken for a ride, but when buying a new car it happens all too frequently. Here are some of the most popular scams and how to make sure you get a bargain not a banger!


What? This is one of the oldest scams in the book, but it’s still favoured by many a crook. Even though most modern cars are fitted with digital mileage counter, it can easily be manipulated with a bit of technological know-how. And a car with fewer miles, in most cases, will demand a higher price.

Avoid! Look for the previous MOT (you can check with the DVLA) and see the service history of the car to see if it adds up. If you know a thing or two about cars, you could also assess the general wear and tear of the vehicle; well-worn pedals and wheels might indicate more miles than their claim.

Money Transfers

What? With the rise of the internet, buyers have more choice than ever before. Many people are now choosing to look all over the country – even globe – for their perfect car. This means dodgy sellers can take advantage and ask you to send money to a third party as insurance that you will actually show up to view the car. Such sellers often list the car cheaply to generate interest.

Avoid! If the deal seems too cheap to be genuine and they ask you for a viewing deposit we’d advise walking away.


What? A sophisticated method used to disguise the cars original identity. Criminals simply apply another cars identity to the one they have – in most cases – stolen. They do this by swapping the number plates, registration documents and the vehicle identification number.

Avoid! You need to carry out a car data history check and make sure it all tally’s up. Look for things like the date of first registration and the engine size. You can also check for any indication of meddling e.g. the number plate.

Vehicle Matching

What? If you are selling your car, this is one to watch out for. These people will approach the seller and promise to match them up with keen buyers. All they ask for is a small fee before you get the sale. According to the Office of Fair Trading this “small fee” adds up and costs genuine sellers almost £3 million annually.

Avoid! Don’t agree to pay anything up front – there is a good chance you will never see the money again and not even have a buyer at the end of it.

Swap Scam

What? This is becoming more popular on auction and classified websites where you are likely to advertise your car for sale. The fraudsters will contact the seller and instead of offering to buy the vehicle, they will offer to swap it. Obviously the car on offer will be desirable and worth more than the one being sold. Unfortunately, the car up for swaps is often either stolen or on existing finance.

Avoid! Similar to cloning, you need to carry out a car data history check.

Car Buying Tips  14/08/2015 09:16:39

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