Used car adverts have been spotted on social media sites over lockdown but experts have warned these may be fake to trick motorists. Scammers may target cash-strapped drivers with tantalising deals for cars which do not even exist.
These offers may be too good to be true to encourage buyers to pass over personal details in the assumption of receiving a car.
Seán Kemple, Director at Close Brothers Motor Finance has issued a crucial warning to motorists after revealing buying a car on online social media platforms “comes with its risks”.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Kemple said: “Relying on online platforms, especially social media, certainly comes with its risks.
“Most purchases are of course entirely safe and transparent, but fraud is an escalating problem in the UK, particularly as we become more reliant on digital documentations and transactions.
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GMP said drivers should not feel pressured into making advance payments without seeing the vehicle in person first.
They urged any prospective owners to check the vehicle and its documentation to ensure the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is the same as the digits in the log book to ensure the sale is genuine.
They also urged motorists to use a payment method which can be easily tracked such as a credit card.
Cash payments are not advised as it is almost impossible for officers to be able to trace who is behind the transaction.
He told Express.co.uk: “It’s worth checking digital channels to determine if it’ll be safer and more sensible to visit in person than to risk an online purchase.
“Where possible, it’s always best to use additional channels, be it the dealer website, chat function or a physical visit, to be sure that your purchase is genuine.”
The lockdown has seen the need for dealers to get up to scratch with online sales and many have systems in place to deal with transactions.
Genuine companies will aim to make motorists feel at ease with online purchases and will offer a range of features such as video viewings.
Mr Kemple said: “Some dealerships will be well equipped to support online sales with features like live video viewings and home delivery.
“Other dealerships will have made clear on their website the measures that they are taking to protect consumers who do wish to visit.”