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Scambusters offer advice on cloningBack

The Scambusters are back to help warn our buyers about the pitfalls of purchasing a used car without performing the necessary checks.

Purchasing a used car can be a fun experience as long as it is done in the right way. It pays not to be too hasty when considering the right motor to suit your needs in fact the Trusted Dealers would always recommend that buyers carry out thorough checks on the cars they are considering buying to make sure they do not fall privy to any scams.

Our Scambusters Guide was created to help buyers to spot a scam and protect them from making the wrong buying decision. It offers some excellent advice from industry experts and can be downloaded for free from our website.

For the past few months we’ve been reminding our buyers about the key scams to look out for when buying second-hand cars, and this month we’re focussing on a scam known as ‘Cloning’.

What is cloning?

Cloning occurs when a gang of criminals works alongside an unscrupulous garage to forge the official documents, ID and plates from a legitimate car. They then steal a car of the same make, model and colour and switch its plates, registration details, documents and VIN numbers (the individual ID numbers riveted under the bonnet and stamped on the floor plan of a car) for the faked versions of the legitimate car.

What happens next?

The vehicle is then advertised for sale, but because standard security checks cross reference to the legitimate car, the vehicle is not identified as stolen. In this situation, the person who purchased the illegitimate car has no rights to it, and if it is discovered that their new car is stolen, by law it must be returned to its rightful owner.

What steps can be taken to avoid cloning?

There are a number of simple steps that motorists can take to avoid purchasing a cloned car, so follow some top tips below from the Scam Busters to ensure you don’t fall privy to this scam.

  • Insist that all official documentation is provided for inspection prior to any sale and check this very carefully. Original DVLA paperwork has a prominent watermark running through it.
  • Be suspicious if the seller will not provide a land line for you to call them on or will not meet you at the home address listed on the log book.
  • Check for tampering around the VIN numbers.
  • Look for a recent respray – and look for overspray on glass or trim.
  • Never pay cash for a car. Sellers of a cloned vehicle will not take a Bankers’ Draft.

Finally, go with your gut instinct; if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t and if the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is!

Posted by Leana Kell on 05/04/2013