Put the brakes on online auto fraud

Cheshire police is warning people to be aware of online fraud scams involving the buying and selling of vehicles.

Cheshire officers are supporting the Get Safe Online auto fraud campaign, advising people to be vigilant if they are either buying or selling a car, van, bike or truck online.

Detective Superintendent Aaron Duggan, Head of Crime at the Constabulary explained: “The internet now makes it much easier than ever before to buy or sell vehicles. People’s experiences are made much simpler by being able to view prospective purchases online through videos and photos.

“This has also unfortunately made it much simpler for dishonest buyers and sellers to defraud people but if people follow the safety advice offered by Get Safe Online they should be able to avoid being the victim of a scam.”

Things to remember when making payments for vehicles:

  • Never send money abroad
  • Never pay a large deposit
  • Don’t hand over your vehicle until you’re satisfied the funds are in your account – check with your bank that you can withdraw funds safely on the cheque
  • Your bank will not honour fraudulent drafts or drafts that cannot be cleared through lack of funds
  • Don’t be pressured into releasing your vehicle – a genuine buyer should not mind waiting until the draft has cleared.

Things to remember when taking payments for vehicles:

  • Cash Payments – Ask for the cash to be handed to you in a bank, where notes can be checked for forgeries and paid in immediately
  • Cheques / Bankers Drafts – Never let the buyer take your vehicle until the funds have appeared in your bank account to ensure the cheque isn’t forged, cancelled or stolen
  • Online Bank Transfers – This is one of the safest methods of payment as it avoids handling large amounts of cash and the problems associated with chequesThe campaign is also supported by The Vehicle Safe Trading Advisory Group (VSTAG), an industry forum which was created to help protect buyers and sellers of pre-owned vehicles from fraud during the online buying and selling process.

If you’ve been affected by this type of fraudulent activity contact Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, on 0300 123 2040 or Cheshire Police on 101.

There’s more information available on the Get Safe Online website – https://www.getsafeonline.org/shopping-banking/buying-selling-vehicles/ or on the Cheshire Constabulary website.


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