There's been a big increase in the amount of cars being sold illegally with outstanding finance, according to the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA).
Conversion fraud selling a vehicle thats still owned by a finance company, rather than the registered keeper rose by 10% in 2011.
The crime accounts for almost 40% of all car finance frauds. In 2011, 815 cases of motor finance fraud were recorded, with a total value of 13.6 million.
Paul Harrison, of the FLA, said: While it may be tempting to sell your car if you are in financial difficulties, if you dont speak to your finance company first, you may be classified as a fraudster.
Its important that the owner of the car the finance company knows who is driving it at all times, as required under the terms and conditions of a credit agreement.
The figures underline the importance of carrying out a history check on used cars before you buy.