Online scammers are continuing to capitalise on the pandemic, but with so many convincing scams to look out for it can be incredibly daunting for motorists. With more people buying and selling motors online than ever before, fraudsters have found new ways to target the vulnerable.
To help, Select Car Leasing have crunched the numbers of five online motoring scams, revealing that drivers are at risk of losing an eye-watering £8,485.
‘Too Good to Be True’ Car Insurance Deals Could Cost You £785
Fraudsters often take the form of fake car insurance providers. These scammers, known as ghost brokers, sell ‘too good to be true’ car insurance deals to drivers that are none the wiser that they are buying a policy that is completely worthless.
According to the Association of British Insurers, the average cost of car insurance is £485. Victims of ghost broking could be paying this premium, but also be landed with a £300 fine on top when they are penalised for driving an uninsured vehicle.
The best way to see if a car insurance deal is too good to be true is to check if the broker is part of the British Insurance Broker Association. Ghost brokers often take to social media to advertise their policies, so look out for this.
Fake Road Tax Text Scam Could Cost You Your Bank Balance
The DVLA has issued a warning over a rise in fake text messages that appear to be sent from the agency.
The texts either warn drivers that their payment details need to be updated or that their road tax is in need of renewal. These text messages give recipients a link to re-enter their bank details, potentially giving scammers access to their bank accounts where they can immediately transfer the balance to another account.
Facebook Car Adverts Could Cost You £5.1k
Although Facebook Marketplace is a great place to purchase a used car, fraudsters are also using the platform to advertise vehicles at bargain prices to lure in potential buyers. One unlucky victim from County Clare paid £5,179 (€6,000) for a car that was never delivered.
False sellers pressure motorists to send a deposit and pay for vehicle delivery. They then take the money and run – so buyers are left without a car and their money.
Car Buying Scammers Can Leave You £2,000 Out of Pocket
Not only can buying a car be risky, so can selling it online. Some scammers will turn up for an in-person inspection of the vehicle being sold, and distract the seller while an accomplice adds engine oil to the water reservoir.
The car will of course break down if driven, with the criminals claiming the seller has tried to sell them a faulty car – they’ll use this as leverage for a significantly lower asking price. The scammers will then empty the engine oil out of the reservoir and sell the car on to another unknowing buyer. The Derbyshire Times reports that in some cases, the sellers are £2,000 worse off.
Fake Driving Licenses Could Cost Learner Drivers £600
Following the pandemic, learner drivers are left with a long wait for their driving test. Some fraudsters are capitalising on the wait and targeting motorists who don’t want to wait to sit their test.
Scammers are selling fake licences and paper certificates online for £600 each, stating they have inside access to driving test centres and can pass learner drivers without having to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. No licence cards are issued, and the fraudsters take the funds.