10 Oct 2022

Online Vehicle Fraud Jumps

Reports of online vehicle fraud have risen 21% since 2019, after a BBC investigation found a rise in fraudulent activity.

There were almost 3,000 reports of online vehicle fraud last year, according to Action Fraud, a significant increase on previous years.

These fake car dealership websites act and sound like legitimate sellers of vehicles, discussing options over the phone with potential clients before sending an invoice for payment once a ‘deal’ is agreed.

However, when payment is made the vehicle will simply not be delivered.

The method of buying a car online has become increasingly popular as people seek better deals with the price of second-hand vehicles going up nearly 20% year-on-year.

The investigation highlighted that 33% of those surveyed would buy a vehicle online without seeing it in person.

Mike Andrews, Head of E-Crime at National Trading Standards, said on the show: “This is the first of its kind we’ve seen. We’ve not seen a website set up on this scale, with this level of sophistication, purely designed to defraud consumers in the purchase of second-hand cars.

“The concern of course is particularly when we’re talking about a cost of living crisis and consumers are increasingly looking for a bargain - they’re likely to be taken in by this.

“Do your research. If you’re making any purchase online don’t make the payment by bank transfer. If you pay using your credit card in particular you’ve got extra protection. You’ve still got an enhanced level of protection even if you use a debit card.”

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