Selling your car privately? Be aware

Car sellers are warned to be on the lookout for a re-emerging scam that sees potential buyers try to knock thousands off a car’s asking price, by tampering with its engine.
The scam, which has been around for a number of years, sees criminals secretly pour oil into the coolant reservoir of the vehicle for sale, then request a large discount claiming it will require a new engine.
The scammers often arrive to view the car in pairs or threes and will try and distract the seller. One may ask to look at the engine whilst the other wants to see the spare tyre in the boot. When the car is taken for a test drive, the engine may smoke or make loud noises, which will prompt the scammers to ask for a cut-price deal.
We have seen an increase in the number of reports of this scam in Essex.
If selling a car, remember:
– Stay with the buyers. Don’t leave them alone with the car or allow yourself to be distracted at the rear of the vehicle whilst someone is looking at the engine.
– Be aware of suspicious behaviour. Scammers will often request an enormous discount due to the ‘fault’ with the vehicle.
– Be confident to refuse the sale. If you are doubtful about how genuine the buyer is, or you believe that something suspicious is going on, don’t hand over the keys.
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Author: Paul Middleton

Paul is a Ward Councillor for St. Andrews & Hornchurch Resident's Association Executive member.

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