CAR Dealer has been alerted to a serious scam that could leave traders seriously out of pocket. The con has already caught out several dealers and has the potential to sting loads more.
The fraud was brought to our attention by dealer Mark Boyt, of HS Cars, Chichester, who was alerted to the con by a colleague. And the scam was confirmed as a problem by a number of our trade sources.
The scam involves payment for cars over the phone and the cases we have heard of were very similar.
Boyt explained: ‘A spoof leasing company contacted this dealer over the phone and said it wanted to buy three cars advertised online. He took payment for all three over the phone via card, with the authorisation number and the funds were placed in his account. Two drivers were sent over to pick the cars up and away they went – the dealer thought all was fine as the funds had cleared in his account.
‘However, two weeks later his bank told him the card was stolen and that the money would be removed from his account. The police were involved and it transpires the cash is only safe in your account if the customer enters their pin via terminal.’
Boyt explained the cars had been found but are still in a police compound while the banks argue over who is liable.
Car Dealer has also been told of company’s calling up offering ‘trade deals’ for cars in the same way. Again they are paid for by card over the phone and a driver picks up the vehicle only for the dealer to discover that the card was stolen at a later date.
‘Remember you are only covered if the customer presents their card to you in person,’ explained one trade source. ‘If not you could lose the car and your money.’
We spoke to Barclays about what dealers can do to protect themselves. A spokesman said for added protection motor traders can look into password security which only card holders know. This can be set up with the firm that arranges your transactions.
Want to warn other dealers about a scam? Call Car Dealer on 023 9252 2434.