Sian discovered that her car sale was part of an elaborate scam just in time. But her story acts as a warning to us all when using a third-party money transfer service.
Sian told us: I nearly fell foul of a sophisticated scam when trying to buy a Hyundai i10 for £2,500 on Auto Trader. The seller told me he worked overseas and suggested I completed the transaction using an escrow (third-party money transfer) service.
The escrow’s website appeared legitimate and included links to major websites. Only when I went to pay the money did I become suspicious. The Lloyds Bank account belonging to the escrow service was misspelt with only one ‘L’!
I did some research and realised it was a scam. I reported it to the police, and they are hoping to make an arrest imminently.
Advice on using an escrow service
We say: Although the majority of Auto Trader transactions are completed without a hitch, some people use the site to operate sophisticated scams such as this.
With this in mind, Auto Trader discourages its customers from sending money for a vehicle they haven’t seen. Always physically check the vehicle to see that it matches the details listed online. The Auto Trader website has plenty of additional advice on avoiding fraudulent transactions.
Before using an escrow service, always look for signs that it may be fake, such as false licence numbers and logos, or a mobile phone number disguised as a foreign landline.
Does the above story sound familiar to you? Have you been affected by scam while trying to buy a used car?