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By Cheshire Police - 31st March 2014 6:00am
Online vehicle fraud is costing the nation a road-rage inducing £17.8 million each year, according to new figures released by Get Safe Online and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) today. This is the equivalent to 89 Aston Martin Vanquishes.
In 2013, more than 6,600 UK residents reported online vehicle fraud to the police, with an average loss of £4,078 per victim. The loss range is huge; from smaller losses of less than £50, which mainly related to holding deposits, to one unlucky victim who lost £300,000 where multiple vehicles were involved.
Fraudsters used the following methods to steal their victims' cash:
- Part or full payment for the vehicles and then loss of contact with the "seller" accounted for nearly half (49%) of frauds
- More than a third (37%) of cases involved the payment of a deposit rather than the full amount
- Bank transfers (58%), fake eBay Invoices (14%) and fake Google Payment Systems Invoices (12%) offering non-existent "buyer protection" for the transaction were the most commonly cited payment methods
- Some victims paid funds to holding accounts on the basis that funds will be held until the buyer has received the goods and is satisfied with them
- Other victims received texts from well-known websites requesting refundable fees for car inspections
Further statistics show that:
Nearly three quarters (71%) of victims were men
People in their forties reported a quarter (25%) of all online vehicle fraud
London was the most targeted city for online vehicle fraud, followed by Bristol and then Birmingham
Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, commented:
"Vehicles are valuable goods and because of this, trading them isn't a decision that people take lightly, so it's awful that fraudsters are exploiting popular vehicle websites. Hopefully our latest campaign will make people more aware of the risks before going online to buy or sell a vehicle."
(Ed: "The Get Safe Online Website is a great site giving free advice on protecting yourself whether it is a car or computer, money fraud or protecting your children, click here for more")
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