Three top tips to spot online used vehicle scams


There is a huge rise in the number of people who will take your money and run

If you buy your vans secondhand online, then you need to read this. has warned of a marked increase in online used vehicle scams and highlighted three telltale signs of a con:

  1. Is the vehicle being offered for substantially less than other similar models?
  2. Does the number ring out or go to voicemail, prompting you to ‘email the seller’?
  3. Are you then offered a vehicle that is abroad but can be ‘shipped to you’?

Mark Bailey, head of CDL Vehicle Information Systems, which owns, said: “The sheer volume of online scams was off the chart this summer. The staff at our Glasgow call centre speak to used car buyers every day, often when they’re about to transfer money, so we have our finger very much on the pulse when it comes to the latest scams.

“From early this year we saw a significant rise in fraudulent online adverts, but from May onwards it really ramped up, not only for the usual cars, vans and bikes, but for plant and agricultural vehicles, every sector you can think of.”

The sheer volume of online scams is off the chart summer

“Con artists, often operating in organised criminal gangs, can create scam adverts very quickly and on an industrial scale, even setting up whole fake dealer websites. At first glance, they look realistic; they cut and paste wording from genuine adverts and add features like make and model searches to appear more convincing.”

“If you encounter any of the above, and certainly all three in order, it should serve as a red flag that you are being lined up. The best advice remains: If in doubt, walk away.”

With information from the police, DVLA, insurers and finance houses, holds comprehensive data on every vehicle on UK roads – things that buyers should be aware of before making an offer. CDL performs over a million lookups a day for companies including AutoExpress, CompareTheMarket, Go-Compare, Moneysupermarket, Swiftcover and Tesco.