Used car adverts have been spotted on social media sites over lockdown but experts have warned these may be fake to trick motorists. Scammers may target cash-strapped drivers with tantalising deals for cars which do not even exist.
- Used car market ‘stronger than it has been’
These offers may be too good to be true to encourage buyers to pass over personal details in the assumption of receiving a car.
Seán Kemple, Director at Close Brothers Motor Finance has issued a crucial warning to motorists after revealing buying a car on online social media platforms “comes with its risks”.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Kemple said: “Relying on online platforms, especially social media, certainly comes with its risks.
“Most purchases are of course entirely safe and transparent, but fraud is an escalating problem in the UK, particularly as we become more reliant on digital documentations and transactions.
“And as consumers are more reluctant with current restrictions to visit their local dealership, there is a greater risk of being scammed.”
Last month Greater Manchester Police issued a “scam of the week” warning on social media urging drivers to think carefully before buying a car through social media.
Police chiefs revealed they had seen fraudsters posting the fake listings for all vehicles from cars to caravans online.
The coronavirus restrictions were being used to trick prospective buyers into handing over money for cars they had not yet seen.
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GMP said drivers should not feel pressured into making advance payments without seeing the vehicle in person first.
They urged any prospective owners to check the vehicle and its documentation to ensure the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is the same as the digits in the log book to ensure the sale is genuine.
They also urged motorists to use a payment method which can be easily tracked such as a credit card.
Cash payments are not advised as it is almost impossible for officers to be able to trace who is behind the transaction.
- Cheap used cars are ‘highly sought after’ models
GMP have told social media users to be cautious of contact from anyone claiming to be from the DVLA or insurance company.
These will not contact motorists through social media platforms or text so any messages could indicate a scam.
Mr Kemple has urged road users to always use additional services when buying a car and book in a physical visit to ensure the purchase was “genuine”.
He pushed road users to check whether it is “safer” and “more sensible” to consider visiting a dealer in person to confirm the car you are planning to buy does exist.
He told Express.co.uk: “It’s worth checking digital channels to determine if it’ll be safer and more sensible to visit in person than to risk an online purchase.
“Where possible, it’s always best to use additional channels, be it the dealer website, chat function or a physical visit, to be sure that your purchase is genuine.”
The lockdown has seen the need for dealers to get up to scratch with online sales and many have systems in place to deal with transactions.
Genuine companies will aim to make motorists feel at ease with online purchases and will offer a range of features such as video viewings.
Mr Kemple said: “Some dealerships will be well equipped to support online sales with features like live video viewings and home delivery.
“Other dealerships will have made clear on their website the measures that they are taking to protect consumers who do wish to visit.”
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