Gardai warn against criminal gang targeting car sellers online
Gardai have warned motorists selling on their car to be vigilant against fraudsters who pose as prospective buyers.
The scam targets people selling cars online, and in many cases people have been conned into handing over their car to an organised crime gang.
The criminals then sell the car on for a fast sale, well below the market value of the vehicle. Already they are believed to have netted €300,000 from the scam.
Gardai have cautioned people in the market for buying and selling a car to watch out for some tell tale signs that may suggest they have been targeted in this operation.
Fraudsters never actually view the car they are expressing an interest in, but will contact a seller on email or by phone, making an offer.
An arrangement is made to seal the deal and the criminal will look to meet with the seller on a Thursday or Friday, where they hand over a bank draft for the total and take the car away from the unsuspecting seller.
The seller will realise the following week that they bank draft is a counterfit when they lodge it to their account.
Meanwhile the criminal gang will advertise the same car for sale on multiple used car websites for a well below market value price. The fraudsters will suggest that the vehicle is repossessed, hence the low price but he will insist on being paid in cash.
At no time will the new purchaser ever get to meet the individual who is now supposedly selling the vehicle.
In a statement the Gardaí said “Our main appeal is to potential sellers of vehicles and indeed property in general. Please be aware when accepting bank drafts as payment. A number of bogus bank drafts are in circulation and are of good enough quality to deceive the unsuspecting punter. Should you wish to accept a draft from someone as payment, please insist on getting the draft details first and then contact the relevant bank or financial institution to confirm the authenticity of said draft.”
In recent months, more than 20 vehicle have been ‘bought’ with bogus bank drafts and sold on immediately with a cumulative loss of more than €200,000.