Drivers warned of vehicle scam rates soaring after number plate changes this month

A number plate

Experts are warning that the 'Scam of the Month' could impact one million drivers

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 18/09/2023

- 09:49

Motorists have been told to expect a massive increase in these scams at this time of year

Drivers are being warned of a dangerous new scam which could affect around one million drivers after major law changes earlier this month.

The new “Scam of the Month” is a warning to drivers about the mass influx of second-hand car scams being seen since the start of September.

On September 1, new number plate changes were introduced, with drivers seeing a new “73” plate hit the forecourts.

Experts are warning drivers that scammers can capitalise on the season influx in car sales by offering motorists “the best deal”.

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However, this vehicle is unlikely to exist, with these scams being found on popular online marketplaces like eBay and Gumtree.

They can also be found on social media with images being taken from genuine sellers to convince buyers that they actually have the vehicle in their possession.

Baz Thompson, head of fraud and investigations for Metro Bank, has urged drivers to be “extra cautious” whenever new number plates are released.

He said: "Cars are generally people’s second-largest asset after their homes, so it’s vital to slow down and take your time when researching and purchasing to ensure you are not being scammed.

Scammers know that used car sales rocket when the new licence plate comes out, so be extra cautious at this time of year.”

Motorists are also being urged to check the URLs of websites as scammers are becoming more sophisticated and making minor changes to website links to trick drivers.

Drivers looking to lease or finance a vehicle are also at risk of being targeted, with criminals encouraging people to pay a deposit for a vehicle they will never receive a vehicle for.

The experts at Metro Bank are providing drivers with some key red flags to look out for before parting ways with their money.

Vehicles that are considerably cheaper than the market average and any prices that seem too good to be true probably are, with drivers advised to avoid.

If a seller contacts the person directly offering them a “deal” should also be seen as a red flag, alongside the seller requesting funds via bank transfer.

Scammers may also try and rush drivers into making a decision, as well as offering no or extremely low deposit options.

Potential buyers should also request to see the vehicle in person if they can and ask for key details about the car including the vehicle identification number (VIN) and check the information matches the V5C document.


Selling cars

Drivers should always view the car before they purchase it


Drivers could also offer to pay a small deposit upfront once they are confident the deal is legitimate and promise to pay the remaining balance on delivery.

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