Be Safe

Be Safe

01 December 2011
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If your vehicle is stolen

Firstly report the theft to the Police. The will automatically report the theft to the DVLA (Driving and Vehicle Licensing Authority) and provide information on the theft and vehicle recovery.

Before contacting the Police, make sure you have the vehicle particulars handy, the registration document covers most of the requirements. The Police will provide with a crime reference number and this can be used to for your insurance claim and to claim a refund of the road tax if applicable.

Insurance – Make sure to contact them as soon as possible, who will advise you. In the event your vehicle is not recovered and your insurance pays out on the claim, you should inform the DVLA. They will need to know the details of your insurance company; the date the claim was paid out, and should be informed if the insurance company has retained the whole of the registration document. Depending on which type of Registration Document came with the vehicle, completion of the V5/3 (notification of sale or transfer) or V5C/3 (yellow portion) part should be completed

Road Tax – In the event your stolen vehicle hasn’t been recovered you will need to complete form V33 along with the crime reference number. It is advisable to leave a period of around 7 days before applying.

Personalised Registration – If you have a private number plate and the vehicle has not been recovered after 12 months, you can then reclaim it. With certain criteria being:

The Police were informed (with a crime number) and the DVLA records show the vehicle has not been recovered after 12 months.

A current MOT and Tax disc were in force at the time of the theft

Your insurers will have to confirm with the DVLA that is know reason why the number should not be re-issued

Any further information required should be sent in writing along with details of the registration number and posted to Cherished Transfer Section, DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BW.

Direct Link to DVLA -

Vehicle Customer Services (VCS) DVLA Swansea SA99 1AR                             Telephone – 0845 519 1469

Artificial Escrow Services

Escrow is a term applied to any 'honest broker' service that offers to hold money or goods until all parties in a transaction are satisfied that the terms and conditions have been met, whereupon the goods/services/monies are released. 

Escrow services have existed for many years but have recently come to more importance in the online arena because of buyers and sellers being both worried about getting scammed in an Internet auction or a sale. A seller does not want the goods to vanish with no payment. A buyer does not want to send money with no goods (or faulty goods) in return. 

A genuine Escrow Service allows sellers to send goods safe in the knowledge that funds exist and are being held safely until the goods have been delivered. In turn, the buyer can feel safe in the fact that the goods will be received, checked for suitability/condition and the money will only be paid over when this is confirmed to the Escrow Service. 


To initiate the scam, the criminals firstly build an elaborate fake escrow web site. The web sites are often set up to imitate legitimate escrow services. To an untrained eye or on casual inspection it can be very difficult or nearly impossible to tell the difference. 

The criminals then set up a trap auction (or auctions) on a popular auction site. The price quoted is 'profoundly' cheap. Not unnaturally the item is quickly snapped up. When a winner asks how to make payment, the 'seller' suggests the use of an escrow service because of the 'value' of the item. It is also suggested that this is safer for the buyer as well because they will be able to inspect the goods before the money is released. 

The winner of the auction is then requested to use one particular (fake) service. Sometimes there is a choice of two equally false sites. Once the money is transferred to the fake escrow site, it is immediately transferred out of the site and on to another location and 'vanishes'. 

The fraudsters will wish to make as much money as possible from the site so there is often a period when the 'seller' and the 'escrow site' stay in contact trying to explain the delays in delivery. This is so that they can complete any further scams they may be running using this fake site. When they have done as much as they can or have completed collecting money from their ongoing scams, all accounts will be closed and the website will no longer respond. 

The fraud can work both ways. A fraudulent seller can suggest that a buyer use an escrow site he or she controls, then simply grab the buyer's cash without ever sending the merchandise (which never exists.) Alternatively the dishonest buyer can trick a seller into shipping items that haven't been paid for by simply sending an official-looking e-mail from a fake escrow service stating that monies have been received and to go ahead and proceed with shipment of the items. 

This type of scam has become quite sophisticated, and the con artists are getting better at it. They tend to even mix legitimate information with fake so watch out!

The Bankers Draft

A payment by a bankers draft is like a postal order or cheque, you give the bank the money and they give you the draft, you then give the draft to the other person who can cash it in at a bank. The bank transfers the funds out of the account and onto the draft, and when you put it into your account it transfers off the paper and into your account. A normal cheque is a promise to pay, that your bank presents to their bank in demand of payment.

A fake banker’s draft will look as good as an original, even having false watermarks and embossed writing. They usually pass the initial inspection at your bank. After you deposit the draft your bank may hold the funds for up to 5 days to make sure the draft is good. Due to false routing numbers on the check it will take up to 2 weeks for the fraud to return to your bank, long after you think it is safe to take the money and complete the transaction. You, then, are left holding the bag as they say.

Even taking a payment by telegraphic transfer is not fool proof, as many payments originate on stolen credit cards which are used to inflate the balance on a fraudulent account. By the time the transactions all catch up with the bank, they are out large amounts of money.

Don’t let the car out of your sight until you are100% positive the transaction has gone through. Check with your bank to see if the funds are available for you to withdraw.