Used car buyers should take extra care following a rise in the number of scams and attacks on bargain-hunters.
The latest schemes involve internet con-artists and organised gangs robbing used car buyers by offering bogus or non-existent cars at knock-down prices.
In some cases, when the buyers turn up, they are attacked for their money.
What Car? heard from one used buyer, who wanted to remain anonymous, after he was attacked by a gang when he went to view a vehicle in south London.
The car was advertised at a good price but despite taking precautions, he was still hoodwinked. He said: 'Ultimately the car didn't exist, and it was an organised mugging.'
Also on the rise are internet scams, where buyers are tempted into paying for bargain cars without seeing them first. They soon discover the cars don't exist and the seller has vanished with their money.
However, used buyers can take steps to avoid such scams. Car history expert Experian now advises buyers to take extra care when buying used cars in light of these attacks.
Kirk Fletcher, managing director of Experian's automotive division, said: 'Don't take a chance. Anyone buying a used car should carry out a history check to make sure everything in the advert adds up.
'Be very wary if a private seller suggests meeting anywhere other than their home, because that's usually suspicious.'
Stay safe when buying a used car
• Make sure you ask lots of questions about the car in a bid to trip rogue sellers up.
• Don't take a cash deposit with you, and leave your wallet in the car. Always take at least one friend with you, too.
• Look for the car when you arrive, and be wary of sudden changes of venue by the seller.