Motor Industry News
MyCarCheck.com - the UK’s No.1 vehicle provenance website - has saved millions of people from making an expensive used car mistake. Thanks to strong working relationships with both the police and leading insurance companies, MyCarCheck is usually one of the first to hear about the latest vehicle theft scams.
As summer approaches, the MyCarCheck.com Investigation Team warns that ‘the escrow con’ remains the No.1 tactic being used by criminals to target private used car buyers purchasing via internet sites. The latest twist is to claim that the car is being sold by the family of a UK serviceman on active service in Afghanistan.
The key giveaway signs are:
1) Is the vehicle described as being registered in the UK but currently abroad?
2) Is there a proposal to transfer funds to a holding account?
3) Is there any indication that the vehicle will be shipped to you?
Justin Powell, Consumer Business Manager at CDL Vehicle Information Services (which owns MyCarCheck.com), commented: “Our main business is helping used car buyers to confirm whether their potential pride and joy has a questionable history, but in the course of our day-to-day business we get to hear about the latest tactics being employed by car thieves. I must emphasise that the likelihood of falling victim to such a swindle is relatively low, but we consider it our duty to put consumers in the picture as to the latest scams criminals are using.
“If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of the three questions above, you will probably find it applies to all three. The escrow con, in which money is supposedly held by a third party, works like this: Consumers see an advert for a temptingly-priced car and when they enquire about it they are told it is currently abroad, often in Spain. The seller suggests that you pay money to a ‘trusted’ third party who will hold it until the car is delivered. Don’t do it! The car will never arrive and the funds will not be returned.
“When we identify one of these scams we try to ensure that the advert is pulled immediately, but this is big business fraud – the vehicles and adverts change very quickly and it is extremely difficult for the police to take any action. Some scammers even go as far as putting up fake shipping company websites to convince you the car is en route.
“If I could give one piece of advice to used car buyers it would be: Trust your gut feeling. If something appears too good to be true then it usually is. Genuine sellers want to obtain the best price they can, so any car that is seriously cheap compared to similar models should set the alarm bells ringing. As with any used car purchase, spending just a few pounds with MyCarCheck.com before you buy is a wise investment.”
Here is an actual email exchange which illustrates how the escrow con lures in unsuspecting buyers:
Saw the Z4 ad, looks great & a good price. Can you please provide more details:
- Does the car have full service history?
- Is it one owner from new?
- Where are you & the car based?
Please email me back at this address.
Thanks in advance
I am glad to hear you are interested in buying my 2007 BMW Z4 2.0i SE! I recently moved to Spain and the car is being shipped from here. I want to sell it in UK due to the fact that it is an UK version (right handed). I bought this car from UK and it still has UK registration, so you won't have to pay any import and insurance fees.
The car is in perfect condition, the bodywork is immaculate. If the car is not how I described it, I will offer a full refund. It will be insured during transportation and will be delivered at your address in maximum 10 days. Final price is GBP 7,000 (the price includes shipping and insurance fees).
I want to take this opportunity to assure you that this deal is 100% legitimate. The financial part will be managed by a company that has offices in both UK and Spain and in this way both buyer and seller are 100% covered during the transaction.
Let me know if you need any further details or if you would like to buy my car.
Over the last couple of years, MyCarCheck.com and MyTextCheck delivered around 4.5m consumer checks. Parent company CDL performs over 1m vehicle data checks a day for companies including AutoExpress, CompareTheMarket, Go-Compare, Moneysupermarket, Swiftcover and WhatCar?.
It uses up-to-the-minute information from the Police National Computer (PNC), the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and major finance houses including Lloyds TSB.
Know what you’re getting into: MyCarCheck.com