Consumers put on alert as four active car-deal scams are highlighted
* Cartell.ie details how easily people can be duped and how to avoid rip-offs by dodgy sellers or buyers
Motorists are again being warned and advised to be on the lookout for scams when buying or selling a car.
The alert is being raised by vehicle history check experts Cartell.ie. Essentially, they say, there are four main scams 'trending' at the moment:
1. STOLEN VEHICLES: These are usually sold quickly and can be offered in car parks. The vehicle may have its plates changed to match a legitimate car. Or it may still have its original plates and is being sold with fake ownership documents.
Advice: Check the chassis number (VIN) and Vehicle Registration Certificate Number (VRC) as part of a vehicle history check. The VIN is a 17-digit number stamped into the chassis. If there are signs of scratches (always an indication of attempts to blot out numbers) walk away.
2. FAKE BANK DRAFT: The seller, not the buyer, is the potential victim here. A so-called buyer offers a falsified bank draft by way of payment. Cartell.ie says this kind of deal usually goes down late on a Friday evening so the seller hasn't a chance to verify the draft's authenticity.
Action: Never take a bank draft outside banking hours. Always verify a draft before accepting it. The best thing to do is to accompany the buyer to the bank.
3. DEPOSIT SCAM: This arises where a dodgy seller looks for money to be deposited in a bank account before he will pass over the car - except there is no car to be sold. It may have been legitimately offered for sale by someone else on a different website but the scammer will cut and paste photos from the legitimate ad and create a false advertisement.
Action: Don't be so foolish to put money in someone else's account without checking out everything else first - and driving the car to test it out.
4. CASH SCAM: A seller shows the vehicle to a potential buyer, but doesn't have any documentation with him. He then plays the old trick of saying he has been caught out before and wants to see the colour of your money. He then runs away with the cash.
Action: Never think of paying until verifying VIN, VRC and the official ID of the person selling as well as their address and test driving the car.
Cartell.ie's John Byrne says: "Don't be too trusting of the other party. Make sure everything is right before handing over your money or accepting a bank-draft."