Urgent warning for drivers to avoid common scams when buying used cars

SCAM is tricking drivers into buying old cars that have been wiped out.

Motorists have been warned about some simple techniques used to fool buyers with unsafe vehicle keys on the road.

Drivers have been warned about simple phishing techniques


Drivers have been warned about simple phishing techniquesCredit: Getty – Contributor

Class C, or “Cat C” cars are written off by insurance companies after an accident, flood, or fire damage because the cost of repair is greater than the value.

In most cases, they will be auctioned off to merchants and garages, who can get the job done for commercial prices.

Usually it doesn’t matter if the repairs are done to a high standard, but some buyers are falling victim to unscrupulous sellers who have completed sub-fixes.

While motorcycle dealers and dealers are required to disclose whether a vehicle has been written off, private sellers are not obligated to do so.

This means that some buyers are unknowingly buying a car that has a potentially dangerous write-off on the road, rendering their insurance coverage invalid.

Craig, from Newcastle, experienced the first scam.

The 30-year-old said: “I first found the car when I was looking for a fairly cheap car to quickly replace my old car, after it broke down MOT.

“It’s on Gumtree and it seems to be in good condition and pretty well maintained.”

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But a few months after the purchase, the digital marketing director realized with horror that he had purchased a seriously unsafe vehicle.

“The car was previously cleared of C-insurance and underwent some questionable repairs before I bought it.

“I only found out when curiosity got better in me and I paid to test HPI where it came back immediately as a write-off.

“It was scary. The car could not be safe to drive; there could be a problem that caused the accident.

“Similarly, my coverage may have been voided because the previous write-off was not disclosed to the provider.”

And horrifyingly, Craig is likely not the only one to fall for this scam.

He was then contacted by Trading Standards as part of an investigation into the seller, who allegedly scammed others “many times before”.


Looking back, Craig, who lost £1,652 through the scam, can now see some red flags he missed on the sale.

“In hindsight, he seemed to be in a hurry to me and wanted to make an immediate decision,” he said.

“When I bought a car, I transferred the payment that was flagged by the bank.

“It took 45 minutes to settle before I could pay.

“The seller also handwritten a receipt that said ‘purchased as seen’ and asked me to sign one for him.

“Another thing is that the car previously had a private license plate – I guess it would have been more difficult to check in the first place.”

To make sure no one else falls victim like Craig, the seller Bristol Street Motors shared the top six tips to avoid scammers when buying a car.

1. Check history

Before deciding to buy a vehicle, it is always wise to check its history thoroughly.

This can be done online for free by looking up its details with the DVLA – although you’ll need to ask the seller for the registration number, MOT check number and mileage.

The government also has a background check tool of the Ministry of Transport, you only need a number plate to use it.

When buying from a private seller, you should also pay to check the personal history.

This costs around £20 and will reveal any serious problems, such as if it has been stolen, wiped out or has unpaid finances.

2. Watch Live

Some scammers sell cars they don’t actually own.

This is most common on marketplace sites like Gumtree or Facebook, where a seller will copy an ad from an existing listing and offer a good mileage for slightly less.

They’ll encourage you to pay for the car – or at least deposit a deposit to keep it – without seeing it first.

Once they have your details, they can cash out your account and you will never see the car.

Therefore, it is important to see a car in person before you agree to buy it.

And always be on the lookout for elaborate excuses why you can’t not fall victim to a virtual car scam.

3. Second opinion

Once you’ve signed up to watch, consider bringing a friend or family member along.

Some private sellers may try to pressure you into making a decision before you have fully weighed your options and decisions.

Getting a second opinion from someone you trust can mean they discovered something you don’t understand yet.

4. Test drive

Taking a car out for a test drive is really the only way to make sure it’s in good working order.

It’s also the only way to know if it’s the right vehicle for you.

If you can, drive for about 15 minutes on various roads while listening for any unpleasant sounds.

5. If in doubt, don’t buy

Your gut instincts are a good indication of whether or not you should move on with something.

So to put it simply, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t buy it.

The used car market is booming, so you should be able to find the same model elsewhere in more genuine condition.

If buying from a private seller worries you or sounds too complicated, buy from a reputable dealer instead.

Established dealers complete all the necessary checks on the vehicle, giving you peace of mind that you are not experiencing any unpleasant surprises.

6. Be cautious

From transferring ownership to insuring it, there’s a fair bit of administrator involvement in buying a car.

And all of this paperwork makes you more likely to fall victim to a scam scam.

Texts and emails claiming to be from the DVLA and insurance companies are common.

They often imply that there is an issue with vehicle taxes or insurance and need the user to enter their details to fix the problem.

This can then lead to identity or currency theft.

Remember never to click on a suspicious link in a text message or email.

Also, look out for signs that the message may not be genuine, such as typos or non-specific greetings like “dear customer.”


A Bristol Street Motors expert said: “Unfortunately, failure to disclose a vehicle’s full history is a common scam that many car buyers fall victim to.

“It’s one of those issues that has significant cost implications, as the actual value of the vehicle is often less than what the buyer is paying, and once found, problems can have a significant impact on the price. its resale value.

“If the problem endangers the driver, the cost could be even greater, endangering the lives of both the driver and the passenger.

“The private seller market is not regulated like motorcycle dealers so some sellers still mislead buyers.

“Buyers must be wary when buying a new car, especially in the coming months as new car registrations will see a large influx of used cars on the market.”

This is Five questions you must ask when buying a used car to avoid being ripped off.

https://www.thesun.ie/motors/8377750/driver-warning-secondhand-car-scam/ Urgent warning for drivers to avoid common scams when buying used cars

Fry Electronics Team

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