Dealers are being emailed via popular online classified sales websites and are then sent a cheque for the vehicle which includes extra cash for shipping to Europe.
The cheques purport to be from Portsmouth City Council but are fakes and bounce – the scammers hope dealers have delivered the cars before realising.
Local newspaper, The News, in Portsmouth, Hants, has reported that the local council has been contacted by six dealers so far his week, but expects to hear from many more.
‘Why the fraudsters have decided to forge our cheques, we don’t know. But they are fakes and nothing to do with us,’ Roger Ching, the council’s director of resources, told the paper.
‘As far as we know, no-one has actually lost out from this scam yet, but we wanted to warn people. One email we have seen was apparently from Switzerland, while the cheques have come from Spain.
‘It seems the scammers are hoping to get either a vehicle for nothing, or the seller’s banking details.
‘The cheques we have seen range from £6,400 to £12,500. The fraudsters also seem to be hoping the sellers will send them any remaining ‘overpayment’, after taking away the price of the car and shipping costs.’
The cheque scam is very common in the motor trade, but this is the first time Car Dealer has heard of the payments purporting to come from a local council.
If you’ve heard of scam that’s doing the rounds in the motor trade and think others should know about it email Car Dealer by clicking this link.