Three top tips to spot online used car scams


The British authorities are reporting an increase in the car purchase on-line scams. has warned of a marked increase in online used vehicle scams and highlighted three telltale signs of a con:

  1. Is the vehicle being offered for substantially less than other similar models?
  2. Does the number ring out or go to voicemail, prompting you to ‘email the seller’?
  3. Are you then offered a vehicle that is abroad but can be ‘shipped to you’?

Mark Bailey, Head of CDL Vehicle Information Systems, which owns said, “The sheer volume of online scams is off the chart this summer, with seasonal favorites like convertibles, camper vans and motor homes being targeted.

“The staff at our Glasgow call center speak to used car buyers every day, often when they’re about to transfer money, so we have our finger very much on the pulse when it comes to the latest scams. From early this year we saw a significant rise in fraudulent online adverts, but from May onwards it really ramped up, not only for the usual cars, vans and bikes, but for plant and agricultural vehicles, every sector you can think of.

“Sophisticated con artists, often operating in organized criminal gangs, can create scam adverts very quickly and on an industrial scale, even setting up whole fake dealer websites. At first glance, they look realistic; they cut and paste wording from genuine adverts and add features like make and model searches to appear more convincing.

“If you encounter any of the above, and certainly all three in order, it should serve as a red flag that you are being lined up. The best advice remains: If in doubt, walk away.”

Though that is the UK experience, you only have to look at the first three pages of Pattaya Mail to see we are not without scam merchants here. What makes these scams so plausible is they are not trying to sell you a stolen car – there is no car! All they want is a deposit.