When dealing with uninvited contacts from people or businesses, whether it’s over the phone, by mail, email, in person or on a social networking site, always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam.
Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Know who you’re dealing with. If you’ve only ever met someone online or are unsure of the legitimacy of a business, take some time to do a bit more research. Do a Google image search on photos or search the internet for others who may have had dealings with them. If a message or email comes from a friend and it seems unusual or out of character for them, contact your friend directly to check that it was really them that sent it.
Beware of any requests for your details or money. Never send money or give credit card details, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust. Don’t agree to transfer money or goods for someone else: money laundering is a criminal offence. No matter how good a deal it seems, no matter how convincing the seller is and no matter how small an amount. A fraudster will be collecting deposits, and often the full purchase price of the vehicle, from a number of different people. Yet, once again, the goods often do not exist, are nothing like their description or simply do not belong to the seller.
Be wary of unusual payment requests. Scammers will often ask you to use an unusual payment method, including preloaded debit cards, gift cards, iTunes cards or virtual currency such as Bitcoin.
Please note that the above is a guide and not the last word on fraud prevention. Consider taking professional advice and guidance.
If you wish to report a fraud please visit www.actionfraud.org.uk
UK Government advice on buying and selling a vehicle Government advice
ACPO Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service www.navcis.police.uk
Anyone can be scammed, so be alert to the fact that scams exist.