HPI, the used car history check experts, are warning unsuspecting customers of scams online when purchasing a car. With the Internet becoming more and more popular among people looking to buy a car, the scams are also becoming more widespread, in fact conning buyers out of millions.
The ‘virtual car seller’ is one of the scams currently doing the rounds. This con involves an advert being placed on a motoring website or publication. The seller lives abroad, often in Spain, and advises prospective buyers that they are looking for a quick sale, and as such the car cannot be viewed as it has already been sent to a shipping company. The unsuspecting buyer transfers the cash over, and surprise surprise, no car materialises.
Another scam could land you with a stolen car and out of pocket. It is believed that gangs are stealing cars and then giving them a new identity, with new paperwork and a new VIN. While scams like this one are not exclusively online, the anonymity that the Internet offers the con artists makes it an ideal place to con those unlucky buyers.
According to the latest survey carried out by HPI, nearly half of those asked (42%) admitted they felt making purchases online does not make them anymore vulnerable than buying a product in person. Interestingly, almost 30% of those surveyed admitted that they would be happy to purchase a car online without seeing it first!
The Consumer Services Manager at HPI comments encourages consumers to take more caution when making large purchases online, she explains “The Internet can offer a wealth of deals and choice; however its relative anonymity can offer rich pickings for criminals looking to turn a quick profit. Buyers need to remain aware of the dangers and be cautious when purchasing online”.
One of the easiest ways to avoid these scams when buying a car is to carry out a simple HPI check on the car before any money changes hands.
Not only will the HPI check make sure you are not driving away in a stolen, or previously written off car, you will also be given the HPI Guarantee. This guarantee means you will be given £30,000 reimbursement if a vehicle turns out to be cloned for example.
Garrath Hussey, CEO at Think Insurance comments on these findings, “With internet sales growing by the day, we urge consumers to use common sense when making large purchases, such as a new car. If you are in any doubt at all, our advice is to go to a reputable Motor Trader or Car Dealer in your area to make sure your money is being well spent. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”