Car scams increase 74% in first six months thanks to fake ads – these are the engines most likely to be attacked
- Vehicle scams are on the rise, increasing by 74% in the first six months of 2023
- The Ford Fiesta is the vehicle most targeted by attacks
- Victims lost almost £1,000 on average to these scams in the first half of the year.
Car and van scams increased by 74 per cent in the first half of 2023 with victims losing £998 on average in vehicle-related scams, according to new research from Lloyds Bank.
The Ford Fiesta was the most common vehicle scam through fake online ads.
Scammers also heavily featured BMWs and Audis in fake ads, and motorcycles and classic cars also regularly appeared.
Fake advertisements for spare parts and accessories, such as alloy wheels, are also common in online vehicle scams, the bank said.
The Ford Fiesta is the vehicle most targeted by fraudulent car ads
It claims that vehicles and accessories are now the most common type of online shopping scam reported by fraud victims in the UK.
According to scam victims, vans also tend to be popular because people look for cheap models to convert into motorhomes, Lloyds said.
Our January 2023 investigation warned that VW’s humble Transporter van had become a favorite vehicle for scammers.
The findings were based on analysis of scams reported by Lloyds Banking Group customers between January and June 2023.
This figure was then compared to the same period in 2022 and an increase of 74 percent was found.
Lloyds said the 25-34 age group is the age group most likely to report being misled by fraudulent vehicle adverts.
How the scam works
Vehicle scams work by scammers creating fake posts on social media or online marketplaces to advertise vehicles that don’t exist.
They will include photographs of original cars or vans to convince unsuspecting buyers that they are authentic.
When a potential buyer responds, they will often be asked to make a deposit to “secure” the car, or sometimes even pay the full amount, along with excuses as to why the car cannot be physically seen before payment is made. .
Scammers often use pressure tactics to sell, telling the buyer that the car is very popular, that they have several other offers or that payment must be made by a certain deadline, Lloyds said.
Victims can be tricked into sending money via bank transfer.
As soon as the payment is made, the buyer will be blocked and the seller’s profile will disappear.
Sometimes a false address is provided to pick up the car, leaving buyers with a missed trip as well as a financial loss.
|Source: Lloyds Bank|
Vehicles most attacked
There is always a high demand for reliable and cost-effective cars. The Ford Fiesta is one of the most popular cars in the country, but also the most popular target for scammers to ensnare unsuspecting buyers.
Figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders in August indicated that the Ford Fiesta was the best-selling used car in the UK between April and June.
The manufacturer recently ended production of the car at its Cologne, Germany factory, so buyers may now be even more interested in getting their hands on the model.
Premium brands, such as BMW and Audi, also rank high among fake ads.
Liz Ziegler, head of fraud prevention at Lloyds Bank, said: “Buying direct from approved dealers is the best way to ensure you are paying for a genuine vehicle and always use your debit or credit card for maximum security.”
Five tips to spot fake ads
1. See the vehicle in person
You can also ask the seller for a live video call. Pre-recorded videos will not work as they could also be stolen from an authentic advertisement.
2. Avoid bank transfers
Using the second-hand site’s own payment platform often comes with better protection.
3. Reverse Google Search
Google has a feature that allows you to drag images into the search bar and see where they have been used before, which can help you identify a scam ad.
4. Be suspicious of low prices
Fake ads often offer the vehicle at a much lower than average price. Do your research.
5. Don’t panic
Scammers use tricks to rush you into a decision, such as inventing another potential buyer. Be careful if the seller is applying too much pressure.