DRIVERS of cars from three major companies have been urgently warned about scams that could cost them hundreds.
Lloyds Bank has seen a 74% increase in motor vehicle fraud reports this year, leaving victims paying an average of £1,000 out of pocket.
The bank is warning Ford, Audi and BMW owners of fraud risks as it emerged that cars from well-known manufacturers were the most common targets.
The Ford Fiesta was the most commonly reported model used in scams, mostly related to fake ads.
German giants Audi and BMW rounded out the top three, with the latter’s motorcycles another common subject of such crimes.
Accessories like alloy wheels have been known to be used to track down unsuspecting drivers.
The number of these scams increased by almost three quarters in the first six months of 2023.
People between the ages of 25 and 34 were the most likely victims, particularly of fake advertising social media.
Fraudsters offer engines, parts or classic models online, including a picture of the original car.
When someone inquires about the engine, they often ask for a deposit to reserve it.
However, as soon as the customer pays, the seller blocks him and even deactivates his profile while he takes the money and runs away.
There have even been reports of scammers sending buyers to a fake address only to find no car waiting there.
Luckily, Lloyds has shared some top tips to avoid being fooled.
This includes refusing to spend any money until you’ve viewed the car, checking the logbook to make sure the seller is reputable, and buying from verified dealers.
They also recommend using a debit or credit card as these offer protection against fraud.
This comes after it was revealed that a major company’s electric vehicle was the most stolen electric vehicle in the UK.
Meanwhile, a woman paid £20,000 for a dream Mercedes only to discover it was “not drivable” and couldn’t even corner safely.
Lloyds Bank’s top tips for avoiding fake ad scams
- Scammers use social media to advertise vehicles that don’t exist. Always do your own research and do not spend any money until you have personally viewed and tested the vehicle.
- Check documents. Always ask to see the seller’s logbook to ensure that the seller is the legal owner.
- The safest way to buy a new or used car is often from reputable, approved dealers. Organizations such as the AA offer specific guidance for buying cars sight unseen.
- Low prices and pressure sales tactics are often used to appeal to victims. Ask if an offer looks “too good to be true” and compare prices from trusted sources.
- Always use your debit or credit card when shopping online. This helps protect your money should something go wrong.