Police warn of scam car sales

PUBLISHED: 10:57 18 December 2009 | UPDATED: 12:29 10 June 2010

POLICE are warning car buyers in the East Devon area to be wary of buying vehicles at prices that seem too good to be true.

POLICE are warning car buyers in the East Devon area to be wary of buying vehicles at prices that seem too good to be true.

There have been recent incidents, published in local newspaper classified ads, of expensive cars being put up for sale at heavily discounted prices.

Without ever seeing the vehicle, a man in Devon parted with a £5,000 down payment on a 2006 Porsche Cayenne S which had been advertised for £13,500.

Such a car is valued at around £19,000.

He contacted the 'seller' via email and arranged to transfer the money over - the vehicle has never turned up and contact with the 'seller' has been lost.

The photograph of the car used to advertise it is thought to have been taken from a car forecourt in the north of the country.

Around the same time a 2006 Audi Q7 was put on sale for around £13,500, with similar interest, although there have been no reports of anyone parting with any money in relation to it.

Police believe that the two incidents are linked and that it is a scam.

Local newspaper sales offices have been warned and are aware.

Police vehicle investigator, Mark Humphries, said this was a nationwide scam and advised people never to part with any money without at least seeing the vehicle they are supposed to be buying first.

He said: "These scammers will make the vehicle look very tempting indeed, with very competitive prices. Once again we would warn people that if something is too good to be true, then it probably is not true.

"Don't buy something you can't physically see. Don't deal with people without a confirmed landline number - not telephone boxes or PAYG Mobiles - and an address. If the police don't know who they are we can't trace them if something goes wrong.

"Don't transfer money over the internet, see the vehicle, check its ID, and pay by bankers' draft or cheque - something that can be traced.

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