The term 'car fraud' covers a multitude of crimes. Everything from stealing cars and passing them off as different vehicles, to selling cars still on finance but its not just career criminals who commit car fraud.
Every year hundreds of motorists break the law without realising it. However, its easy to stay on the right side of the law if you follow some simple rules.
Many car owners dont realise that theyre not the legal owner of a car until all the HP repayments have been made. So, sell the car early and youre breaking the law. However, if you have bought the car through a bank loan, you are entitled to sell at any time.
Pay off the finance agreement on a car before you advertise it, and make sure you get a letter from the finance company confirming that the outstanding balance has been settled.
One of the most common fraud offences is lying or omitting information on the application for a finance agreement at a dealership. You might think that a little white lie wont hurt, but not disclosing your credit history, any old addresses and any County Court Judgements will land you in hot water.
Its also an offence to buy a car on finance in your name and then sub-let it to a friend or relative. You might think youre doing them a favour, but it breaks the terms of the finance agreement, and probably means that any insurance on the car is invalid.
A little-known danger is identity theft, where criminals take out a finance deal in someone else's name. Keep a close eye on your post, and check for any letters, statements or paperwork from loan companies youve never heard of. Also check you bank account and credit card statements for any unusual payments.
If there are any suspicious payments, or letters, contact your bank or sender of the letters immediately. You should also speak to the police for advice.