DON'T BE FOOLED: A British fraud intelligence company provides eight useful tips for buying cars online. Image: iStock
London - According to figures released by the British National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, online vehicle fraud costs the UK the equivalent of R296-million each year.
About half of frauds involved used car buyers losing part or full payment for a vehicle and then loss of contact with the “seller”.
HPI, a car history check company, urges customers to be vigilant, especially when it comes to buying online, as fraudsters have a whole range of tricks they use to con people out of their money.
HPI senior consumer cervices manager Shane Teskey said: "The latest figures show that too many used car buyers are being duped by crafty fraudsters out to make a quick profit.
"Online car buying is fast and convenient, but it also gives scammers somewhere to hide. Some fraudsters even manage to take money for cars that are advertised online, but don’t actually exist.
"Online sellers will often come across as friendly, offering to make the sale as easy as possible, while at the same time offering a bargain."
HPI’s tips of online used-car buying:
1 Shop Around: compare prices on other websites.
2 Sites will give you an idea of the price on make and model.
3 Ask questions - be on your guard.
4 Check out the seller's history.
5 Create a short list and do an HPI Check on the cars you’re considering.
6 Arrange to meet the seller in person, with some company, and test drive the car.
7 Remember to cross reference the VIN with the VRM to ensure they match.
8 Paying online - ensure that the website is secure.