Car scams seem to have been around forever, from simple things such as sellers overcharging for their vehicles to cars being clocked. Once one car scam is uncovered it’s not long until another one comes into play. Especially with the emergence and importance of the internet, many of these scams have moved online and fresh ones been developed. If you’re looking to buy a new or used car, these are some of the latest car scams sweeping the UK, so you know what to look for and how to avoid them.
More and more thieves are starting to sell stolen cars online through reputable sites such as eBay under the identity of a legitimate vehicle. To avoid being traced, many sellers ask to be paid with cash on collection rather than through the secure online payment system, which should be a warning to any potential buyer.
Whenever you view a car in person, the safest way to ensure it hasn’t been stolen is to use the HPI Check app. This will instantly bring up its history and further information, showing if the vehicle has previously been stolen so you can walk away from the sale.
Ghost broking is a new car insurance scam sweeping across the country and affecting many motorists. Drivers are sent tens to hundreds of insurance documents for policies which they have not taken out. Ghost brokers sell fake cheap car insurance deals, using some real information but falsifying a lot of it, made to look legitimate.
Buying a fake policy from a ghost broker can be the same as having no insurance, which can result in your vehicle being seized, a fine and paying for your vehicle to be returned. The best way to avoid ghost brokers is by using household insurance companies, checking the insurer is a Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) member and not buying policies through social networks.
Crash for Cash
Crash for cash scams are on the rise, with 30,000 fake car accidents occurring every year in the UK. Drivers deliberately drive poorly to force unknowing drivers to collide with them, such as by braking suddenly or pulling in front of other cars. Some then claim to be suffering whiplash to increase their pay-out.
Technology is helping reduce these scams, with dash cams recording many journeys and providing evidence of deliberately bad driving. For those without a dash cam, taking photos on your phone will provide proof of damage. Otherwise, driving carefully and cautiously of erratic drivers can reduce the chance of becoming a victim.
It’s not just buying and insuring a car that can result in a scam, renting poses some risk too. From renters overcharging and not providing adequate insurance, to claiming you owe money when a vehicle is returned, these are common areas of rental scams. Protect yourself by asking and (if possible) getting in writing the price, excess and fuel policy. Then if they do claim to have an issue you have some proof of what was agreed upon.
Using technology can help protect many drivers against the increasing and developing car scams which are emerging across the UK and abroad.