Police are investigating a fake car dealer who claims to be selling green engines at bargain prices from a non-existent showroom.
Using the name of a legitimate company – Scot Auto Ltd – the scammers have set up a website using stolen images from social media accounts.
They even provided an address for the company at an industrial facility in Dunfermline, Fife.
But when our reporter was there last week, there was no sign of the garage and the unit was derelict.
Police are understood to be opening an investigation after lawyers contacted the owners of the real Scot car on behalf of the victims who posted bail.
It is believed that within days of the scam website going online last month, more than a dozen people turned up at the department looking for the company.
A source claimed the scammers scoured Companies House to find a name to use.
Our insider said, “They’re using real company names. This gives the impression that everything is real.
“They have cheap prices for the cars and claim that they meet the LEZ targets, so they can be used in city centers, which makes them popular.
“It is not known how many people have already paid deposits for cars that do not exist.
“The real owners reported this to the police as soon as they became aware of it.
“Someone came to her house wanting to look at a car — and a legal letter from another person who had been scammed out of money.”
Our reporter, posing as a customer, emailed Sales Manager Oscar Brown. The latter responded with details of a car but ignored requests to arrange a test drive.
They said they would not call until he revealed personal information.
Our source added, “When people are giving out personal information and copies of identification documents, they really need to be careful not to set up a credit account in their name.”
“It’s a common tactic used by these scams. If they receive a deposit, that’s a bonus.”
Images on the company directors’ and sales director’s website were stolen from social media profiles of unsuspecting people.
They even gave two of them the same names as directors of the legitimate company.
We’ve tracked down the person in the photo, who is said to be “Sales Manager Oscar Brown.”
He is a health professional living in Slovakia.
The man said: “They are using my picture, but I don’t know the company and have nothing to do with them. You are clearly a scam.”
Police Scotland said: “We are warning the public to remain vigilant and take some steps to protect themselves from scammers.”
“A call, email, or text message may not have come from the person or organization it appears to have come from. The same also applies to websites.
“We urge the public to make sure a business is authentic before making any payments.
“If you suspect you have been the victim of fraud please call Police Scotland on 101.”
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