Scams and Rip Offs

Scams and Rip Offs

28 November 2011
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Some thieves find it difficult to steal vehicles due to the ever sophisticated anti-theft devices fitted on modern vehicles.  Thieves revert to looking on the internet for specific, high powered, high value vehicles to steal direct from the Seller.  The thieves pose as potential Buyers and simply drive off with the vehicle when going on a test drive either by force or distraction methods.   You could even be a victim of car-jacking.


Be alert and prepared.  Never:

-let the Buyer drive the vehicle alone.  
-See the Buyer alone
-Leave the car keys unattended for one second.                                                                                                           

Stealing Through a Letterbox

If you need to leave your car even for a few moments, remove the key from the ignition and lock the door. As car security systems are becoming harder to get around, thieves are now targeting drivers who leave their vehicles momentarily unattended with the keys in the ignition, for example when they are filling up at a petrol station, or de-icing the windows during the winter.

Progressively more thieves now target detailed vehicles and they will stop at nothing to try to steal the car keys from inside the owner's house during the night. All too the car keys are often left by the back or front door which then can be easily seen and taken by a thief through your letterbox. They sometimes do this by making a fishing rod type of contraption, poking it the letterbox to hook up your car keys. So make sure you don't leave your car keys on display when you go to bed at night.

Ideally, park your car on a drive, or in a locked garage overnight. However if you have no choice but to leave your car out on the road, leave it in a well lit position, preferably near a street lamp. Car thieves like to target vehicles parked in dark, mainly unlit areas, where they can labour away without being seen or undisturbed.

Cutting and Shutting

Sadly a common manouvre used by a scammer to sell what is referred to as a Cut and Shut car. Basically these cars are made from two different vehicles. Typically they are cars which have been involved in an accident and written off by the insurance company. The scammer or crook (if you wish) buy a car from either a breakers or an insurance company and removes the front half of one car and the back half of another which is the same model and welds them together, making one complete whole car. Not only is this practice illegal, but the cars are potential death traps, especially if they become involved in an accident.

Outstanding Credit

Another rip-off to make money is to sell a stolen vehicle which has outstanding credit on it. With many feeling the squeeze, some individuals try to sell a vehicle with unpaid credit left on it. If you buy such a car it can be confiscated and returned to its rightful owner. In turn you will have lost hundreds or thousands of pounds and there is very little chance-if any, of you getting your money back.

Watch the Clock

Adjusting the Odometer, often referred to ‘Clocking’ a car has been around for years and is used by unscrupulous motor traders and dodgy car traders, in the main. It may be to make a quick profit, or get rid of a troublesome car or for some other unfit reason, clocking does happen.

Without being technical, this is done by using drills or hand held computers for digital cars, to wind back the miles on the odometer. The buyer, whether individual or motor traders should be aware. It is illegal to tamper with or adjust the mileage other than the proper reading when selling a vehicle. Evidence suggests that as many as 1 in 10 odometers have been adjusted, possibly costing the innocent buyer £100 a year.

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