Private vehicle sellers beware

Alert message sent 08/07/2020 14:18:00

Information sent on behalf of Wiltshire Police

Are you selling your motor? 

We’re warning would be car sellers to be aware of a scam that appears to be happening at the moment. 

We have had reports of five incidents over the past few months in Wiltshire where a group made up of men or men and women arrive to view a car that has been advertised for sale. 

As the owner is showing them around the car, one member of the group looks under the bonnet and while the owner is distracted they pour oil into the radiator/coolant tank.  They then go for a test drive where the vehicle starts emitting smoke. 

The would-be buyer then asks the seller for a large discount on the car’s original selling price because they say the engine needs repairing.  In each case the seller has refused but the buyers then get aggressive before leaving. 

Det Sgt Joanne Webber said: “We’ve seen a series of these incidents where a so-called interested buyer tampers with the engine while the seller is being distracted and then demands a discount when a problem appears on the test drive. 
“Unfortunately, everyone targeted by these rogue would-be buyers have had to pay for repairs to their cars afterwards.  Luckily, no-one has sold their car at a discount. 
“If you are selling a vehicle please be mindful of this scam. If you suspect someone of doing this, try to take down as many details as possible about them including their description along with the make, model and registration of the vehicle they may arrive in and then call us on 101.  
“Also, if possible, have someone with you when buyers arrive so they can keep an eye on anyone trying to tamper with the vehicle.”

Please note that further crime prevention advice can be found on our website:
Message sent by
Mark Jones (Police, Media Officer, Wiltshire)

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