Day two shield yourself from fraud

* Don't get conned when buying used * Follow our guide * Day four - Car Keys...

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What Car? Staff
14 May 2010

Day two  shield yourself from fraud

Not only have you got to deal with criminals trying to con you out of your money, but its also not unusual for private sellers to inadvertently commit car fraud.

Unpaid finance
All cars need to be free of HP finance before they can be sold. If you buy a car that still has HP finance on it youll not only lose the car, you also stand little chance of getting your money back.

Stolen cars and clones
Organised gangs and criminals often disguise one car to look like another, in a practice called cloning. Fake numberplates, VIN plates and a V5C registration document complete the con. Many fraudsters are so good at creating fakes that even experts struggle to spot one quickly.

The car could also be an insurance write-off thats been poorly repaired and put back on the road. The biggest clue to this is the bargain price, because criminals want to sell the car quickly with no questions asked.

Money fraud
Banker's drafts and dodgy cheques might seem secure, but they're not. Get landed with a phoney and you might think that youve been paid, but in reality youve just handed over your car for free. Some of the fake bankers drafts are good enough to fool banks and building societies, and it could take them a few days to realise the payment is fake. By that time the car and buyer are long gone.

Foreign exchange
One of the newer car cons involves criminals enticing buyers with the promise of a cheap car that's for sale abroad. The seller claims the car is genuine, and might even produce some authentic-looking pictures. They even claim to have sorted a shipping company who will handle the financial transaction and transport the car to you. However, if you pay up, you quickly find that the seller, car and shipping company don't exist.

Protect yourself from being scammed with some simple safety precautions. Check out's Fighting Car Fraud pages to find out how.