Online vehicle fraud increasing – buyers & sellers take care

3rd October 2013

Online vehicle fraud is costing this country over £1.6million per year, with an average loss in excess of £1,400 per victim.

For information and advice on buying and selling vehicles online safely, click here

The new figures are being highlighted by Get Safe Online and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), who together with leading classified ads site Gumtree are working to raise awareness of the problem to people buying and selling vehicles on the internet.

85% of used car buyers and 87% of people buying used cars use the internet for research, with those looking for a used car online increasing by 15% this year over last year. The internet has therefore also become the favourite channel for fraudsters to prey on unsuspecting buyers and sellers, with 89% of the reported victims being contacted by the fraudster via email, phone or visiting a website. Other figures from the latest statistics are equally disturbing:

– The highest loss reported by an individual is £70,000
– The majority (27%) of victims are aged between 21-30 years old
– London is the most targeted city, followed by Birmingham, Bristol and Leicester
– Vehicle sale fraud also increased over the year, with February (new car number plates) being a peak month

Get Safe Online Chief Executive Tony Neate commented: “It’s shocking to see that Brits are losing so much money to online vehicle fraud, especially the individual who lost £70,000. There’s no doubt that the internet has transformed the way people are buying and selling vehicles and it’s a very positive thing but unfortunately it’s also made it easier for dishonest buyers and sellers to commit fraud." He continued: "With a purchase as large as this, people really need to be even more aware of the different types of scams out there and take simple steps to protect themselves from falling victim to these criminals.”

Sam Diamond, Head of Marketing at Gumtree comments: “As the UK’s biggest site for private car listings, we want all of our users to have a successful – and safe – experience. And with millions of people buying and selling motors on our site, we’re proud to support Get Safe Online’s commitment to making the internet a safer place to get a deal done. We hope that the simple advice we share can help to reduce the number of vehicle fraud victims and keep users safe online.”

If you are thinking of buying or selling a vehicle online, make sure you check out our advice page first.

If you have been the victim of fraud when buying or selling a vehicle, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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