The latest used car scam is restealing, warn investigtors.
The UK’s oldest specialist motor insurance loss adjuster, Claims Management & Adjusting, has reported a worrying increase in the used car scam, particularly in the North of England.
The con sees an unsuspecting consumer purchasing a cloned vehicle, only to have it stolen within days by the very people who sold it to them. The criminals then move on to their next victim and repeat the dishonest trick using the same car, with the identity changed yet again.
Philip Swift, a former detective and now managing director of CMA, said, “The resteal involves a combination of theft and fraud repeated in rapid succession to devastating effect.
“We live in an age where technology enables a vehicle masquerading as another (same number plate, apparently correct paperwork etc) to be discovered with relative ease. The criminals know this, so they use fake identities and change their addresses frequently”
He went on, “These unscrupulous crooks leave havoc in their wake, for both the innocent purchasers and the owner of the legitimate vehicle whose identity has been replicated. The former will have to explain to their insurance company that their new car has been stolen, which immediately sets alarm bells ringing.
“The latter might be merrily driving along when they are stopped and arrested – because the police understandably, though incorrectly, believe they have found a stolen car; in fact, they have detained a victim of vehicle identity theft.”
Paul concluded, “From the scammers’ perspective, the resteal has many advantages. They are familiar with the car and the identity points which need changing, they have already duped at least one buyer, and they have so far avoided the vehicle being scrutinised in any great depth. Having kept a key back, or obtained a duplicate pre-sale, they have clear opportunity and motive to nick the vehicle back again.
“This is where we at CMA intervene. Our bespoke CHandler software automatically flags anything unusual linked to all vehicle registration marks (VRMs) we are monitoring. Our highly trained staff are immediately alerted to suspicious activity and will quickly inform the relevant parties.
“With the recent rise in resteal incidents, my advice for used car buyers is to please be extra vigilant and apply these tips.”:
1) If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is
2) Use official finance channels, never pay cash
3) Invest in a full vehicle provenance check prior to purchase
4) Consider immediately fitting a tracking device
5) Have your car key reprogrammed by a main dealer, just as you would change the locks when moving into a new house.