Vehicle Buying and Selling Advice

Buying or selling a vehicle may be one of the largest transactions you make. Here is some advice to help protect you from fraud.

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Although the buying or selling of a vehicle is usually straightforward, both buyers and sellers can leave themselves open to becoming the victim of crime.

Do not let the excitement of buying or selling a vehicle compromise your safety or that of your money. This is one of the most expensive transactions most people ever undertake.

The Internet is now the primary way to find a vehicle that is for sale - an estimated one million adverts are ‘on line’ every day. A small, but significant, number of these adverts will have been placed by criminals.

  • Don’t be the innocent purchaser of a stolen car
  • Don’t be the victim of a Virtual Vehicle Fraud

If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Sellers often exaggerate or make knowingly false claims as to the condition of their car in order to sell it, and buyers may pay with counterfeit cheques or money. Never use Money Transfer and be aware of the safest ways of using bank transfers.

How to protect yourself

An advert on a web site is just that - a means of putting a buyer and seller in touch. 

  • The V5c Vehicle Registration Document shows the ‘registered keeper’ on the vehicle who may not be the lawful owner of the vehicle. This may be another person or a finance company.
  • Vehicle history checks very frequently reveal adverse information about the given vehicle.
  • Vehicle identities are often changed (known as ‘Cloned or Ringed Vehicles’) in order to sell a stolen vehicle.
  • Vehicle History checks may not reveal that a stolen vehicle has been cloned.
  • Innocent purchasers of stolen vehicles may have the car taken from them, lose the money they paid and also be arrested as part of Police enquiries.

Paying for a vehicle has many risks associated with it, follow our advice.

Many people are defrauded every year into sending money to people that they have never met for vehicles that they have never seen - known as ‘Virtual Vehicle’ fraud.

Operation Sterling, in consultation with partners, has produced a guide on buying and selling vehicles:

The types of fraud that may be involved include:

  • Advance fee fraud – paying money for a promise of wealth (419 Fraud)
  • Criminal Cash-Back, Cheque/Draft Overpayments, Shipping and ESCROW frauds
  • Internet, Advertising, Auction and On Line Fraud
  • Money Transfer – Advice when sending money to somebody you don’t know.
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