There has been a marked increase in online scams involving used car sales. To warn of the dangers, has compiled a list of things to look out for when searching for a car online.

The website says the key things to look out for are:

  1. Is the vehicle being offered for substantially less than other similar models?
  2. Does the number ring out or go to voicemail, prompting you to ‘email the seller’?
  3. Are you then offered a vehicle that is abroad but can be ‘shipped to you’?

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"The sheer volume of online scams is off the chart this summer, with seasonal favourites like convertibles, camper vans and motor homes being targeted," said Mark Bailey, Head of CDL Vehicle Information Systems, which owns "The staff at our Glasgow call centre speak to used car buyers every day, often when they’re about to transfer money, so we have our finger very much on the pulse when it comes to the latest scams. From early this year we saw a significant rise in fraudulent online adverts, but from May onwards it really ramped up, not only for the usual cars, vans and bikes, but for plant and agricultural vehicles, every sector you can think of."

"Sophisticated con artists, often operating in organised criminal gangs, can create scam adverts very quickly and on an industrial scale, even setting up whole fake dealer websites. At first glance, they look realistic; they cut and paste wording from genuine adverts and add features like make and model searches to appear more convincing."

Used car sales process

"If you encounter any of the above, and certainly all three in order, it should serve as a red flag that you are being lined up. The best advice remains: If in doubt, walk away."

Mycarcheck uses information from the police, DVLA, insurers and finance houses to compile its reports. It has comprehensive data on every vehicle currently on UK roads.

Mycarcheck owner CDL performs over a million car checks a day for companies like AutoExpress, CompareTheMarket, GoCompare, Moneysupermarket, Swiftcover and Tesco.