Gardaí issue warning on car buying scam

Force records increase in number of vehicles being purchased with fake bank drafts

Gardaí have advised sellers and buyers to get advance details of any bank draft and ensure it is legitimate; avoid buying a car in a car park and walk away from any seller unwilling to provide details for verification.

Gardaí have advised sellers and buyers to get advance details of any bank draft and ensure it is legitimate; avoid buying a car in a car park and walk away from any seller unwilling to provide details for verification.

 

DAN GRIFFIN

There has been an upsurge in the number of cars being purchased with fake bank drafts and sold on to unsuspecting buyers for cash, the gardaí have said.

In a warning issued yesterday (WED), gardaí said there have already been 24 cases of cars being stolen in this manner compared to 21 for all of 2013.

In the past three years, 78 cars (out of 79) have been recovered after being purchased with fake bank drafts. Gardaí returned all the vehicles to their owners but the unsuspecting buyers were left out of pocket, with one person losing €40,000.

The force is now urging members of the public to take necessary precautions before finalising the sale of cars.

In general, the scam involves criminals contacting people who are advertising their vehicles for sale on classified websites to arrange a viewing. The criminals will also place “drivers wanted” notices online. The applicants are asked to meet for an interview in pubs, hotel receptions or car parks. These drivers are then instructed by phone to met prospective sellers to view vehicles.

The criminals make arrangements to purchase the vehicle using a bank draft without actually viewing it personally. The transaction will tend to take place outside of banking hours, usually on a Friday evening.

The draft is handed over and the driver receives the vehicle and vehicle registration certificate. The seller is told the buyer is in the motor trade and given an RF105 (change of ownership to motor dealer) form with details of a non-existent garage.

Often the vehicle has already been re-advertised below the market value online. Upon changing hands it is quickly resold, within hours sometimes, to an unsuspecting buyer.

When the false draft is discovered, the vehicle is reported as stolen.

Gardaí have advised sellers and buyers to get advance details of any bank draft and ensure it is legitimate; avoid buying a car in a car park and walk away from any seller unwilling to provide details for verification.

They have advised buyers never to purchase vehicles on first viewing; to be wary of vehicles advertised at prices below market value and to use traceable methods of payment.