10 top tips to help
drive down vehicle fraud
MERSEYSIDE Police are reminding
anyone buying or selling their car to be vigilant and carry out some simple
checks to avoid becoming the victim of fraud, as we head into 2016...
The warning comes after a number of cases involving victims who have
unwittingly spent their money on cars which are clones of another vehicle,
and results in them losing thousands of pounds.
Members of the public should be aware that criminals can use false number
plates and alter out of date Tax Discs (Also note that Tax Discs are no
longer issued), logbooks, chassis numbers and other details to sell on
stolen vehicles, but help is at hand to highlight key danger signs.
Constable Graeme Watson, an Accredited Vehicle Examiner and part of
Merseyside Police Stolen Vehicle Squad, said:- "If a deal looks too
good to be true, it usually is. A car is the 2nd most expensive purchase
most people will ever make, and there are a few simple ways you can protect
yourself from the massive financial loss that losing a new vehicle can
bring. You wouldn't buy a house without doing research, and a car should be
To prevent yourself from becoming a victim of vehicle fraud, take the time
to carry out these checks and save yourself what could be a catastrophic
► COVER THE NUMBER PLATE - When advertising a vehicle for sale,
always cover your number plate, either using photo editing software, or some
kind of towel or cloth, before taking any photo.
► CHECK VALUES - Compare values of similar vehicles for sale across
multiple different car valuation sites. If 1 car is several thousand pounds
cheaper than a similar age, make and model, treat this as suspicious.
► CHECK PLATES - Genuine number plates will have a dealership name
and address across the bottom. A quick Google search will show whether this
is legitimate or exists. Blank or incomplete number plates should be treated
► RESEARCH MOT HISTORY - This can be done using the Government's
► NEVER PAY IN CASH - There is no legitimate reason that a seller can
insist on a cash payment. Use secure methods of payment such as Paypal,
Apple Pay, bank transfers or credit cards.
► CHECK THE VIN, DON'T LET THEM WIN - A Vehicle Identification Number
(VIN) check will assist in determining if a vehicle has been reported as
stolen. Use the free National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)
► STAY LOCAL - Stay as close to home as possible when buying
vehicles. Travelling to an unfamiliar location can leave you vulnerable,
especially if carrying large amounts of cash.
► QUESTION MISSING INFORMATION - There should always be at least 2
keys, a legitimate logbook, and a Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
V5 form, with a watermark. If not, why not?
► DON'T FEEL PRESSURED - If anything appears suspicious and you are
not satisfied with any details, look elsewhere.
► REPORT CRIME - If you have been a victim of fraud, contact:- 101 or
ActionFraud.Police.UK, the national fraud and cyber crime
reporting centre. anyone with information who does not wish to speak with
Police directly can call Crimestoppers anonymously on:- 0800 555 111...