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Criminals becoming cannier

Time 13 years ago

THIEVES are stealing fewer cars.

HPI’s reported the latest Home Office data, which shows that vehicle-related thefts plunged by 12 per cent in the year to June. Good news?

Of course – but also a concern, as criminals turn their attentions to finding different ways of conning people.


Vigilance is therefore still needed when taking in stock, particularly as many of these new cheats are more sophisticated than ever before.

Nick Lindsay, director of HPI, said: ‘HPI Checks still reveal around 30 stolen vehicles a day… In the current climate, whilst theft might not be as big a problem as in the past, fraud is still a major issue.

‘Outstanding finance is the biggest threat facing used car buyers, with 24 out of every 100 cars checked by HPI still subject to a finance agreement, and this figure is likely to increase as we head towards recession and people find they need to get hold of cash quickly.’

Other con-tricks include cloning – giving one car the identity of another, so that two ‘identical’ vehicles end up on the road. Giveaways here include missing number plates, V5s, MOTs and service history.


That perennial dodgy motor favourite, clocking, is also still rife, with seven out of 100 HPI checks flagging discrepancies. You should also be hyper-alert for general fraud in other areas, particularly when buying at auction.

And, of course, always run a provenance check on any used car you take in – before you hand over the cash…

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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