Driving is an expensive business at the best of times but for unwary motorists there is the added risk of being caught out by criminals trying to rip them off.
While car theft is a major concern, there are plenty of other more subtle scams that will still leave drivers out of pocket should they fall victim, many of which are carried out entirely online.
Cons can range from dodgy paperwork to sellers taking payment for non-existent cars so with the help of the motoring experts at Select Car Leasing, we’ve run down some of the biggest online scams
Too good to be true car insurance deals
Social media has led to a surge in fraudsters posing as insurance brokers and offering unrealistically good deals on premiums. These “ghost brokers” take payment for cheap insurance policies but never actually arrange cover for the victim. This leaves the victim without cover if they have an accident and leaves them at risk of being charged with driving without insurance, which carries a £300 fine and six penalty points.
Car tax cons
The DVLA recently issued a warning over a sharp rise in fake text messages that read as if they are sent by the agency. The texts either warn drivers that their payment details need to be updated, their road tax is in need of renewal or that they are owed a refund. 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.
Fake Facebook car adverts
Although online sales platforms like Facebook Marketplace are a great place to purchase a used car, fraudsters are also using the sites to advertise vehicles at bargain prices to lure in potential buyers. 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 thousands of pounds out of pocket.
Fake Driving licences
Following the pandemic, learner drivers have been 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. Driving without a valid licence carries a maximum fine of £1,000.