Warning after Salisbury man duped into paying deposit for car

A SALISBURY man was duped into paying a deposit to buy a car – only to find the ‘seller’ did not even own the vehicle.

Police are warning people to be on their guard against online fraudsters advertising cars for sale without actually owning them.

Wiltshire Police said the victim, a man in his 30s, paid a deposit for a car he saw advertised on an online marketplace and after discussing the purchase online with the supposed seller.

“The supposed seller had initially set up the advert having seen the car advertised on an online marketplace themselves,” a spokesperson said.

“They then duped the owners of the car into believing they had a genuine interest in buying the vehicle, and then asked to see videos of the vehicle and documentation relating to it, which they received.

“The unknown suspect has then reregistered themselves as the registered keeper of their vehicle, and used the videos sent to them to advertise the vehicle as their own.

“They have then tricked potential buyers into paying deposits for the vehicle.”

DI Ian Magrath, of the Digital Investigations and Intelligence Unit, said: “I want to take this opportunity to remind people to be incredibly cautious when buying or selling cars online.

“Sellers should list the make, model and the year of the car, but never share any information about Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs), V5 documentation or anything else.

“I would also advise sellers to consider blanking the registration number from the advert as it is too easy to clone a plate, such as to avoid a congestion charge or commit a bilking (when someone makes off without paying a fare or bill).

“Most buyers will be willing to view a vehicle as they generally want to ensure it is in good order and as per the advert.

“Perhaps ask yourself, would you buy blind and based only on a few photographs from someone you have never met?

“Be wary of those offering to pay for cars to be collected and transported too when they claim to work overseas.

“This is a common scam where funds are often reverse charged so the seller not only loses the vehicle but also the money.”

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