New campagin launched by Crimestoppers to alert buyers to dangers when buying or selling cars online.
Published: 09 March 2016
A new campaign has been launched by Crimestoppers, Done Deal, Carzone and An Garda Síochána to help people stay safer when using online classifieds sites to buy and sell cars. Hundreds of people are reported to be falling victim of online car scams each year. Done deal has even gone as far as employing Finbarr Garland, former Head of the Garda stolen vehicle unit, as a dedicated Customer Safety Liasion Officer.
603,000 ads relating to cars alone are placed on various classifieds sites each year. Approximately 6,500 cars are stolen every year and 60% get recovered. Will Saunderson, a Detective Garda at the Stolen Vehicle Unit said "But within the cars that we do recover, a significant number now are sold through scams. We have had 212 referrals since November 2014, in relation to forged documents. There are very high quality forgeries that are in circulation that are being used with these stolen cars. The documents themselves do contain a watermark, but it is the incorrect watermark."
Done has said that only 0.02% of ads placed on it's site are suspected stolen goods. It also says that €2.46 billion worth of car sales were sold on Done deal in 2015.
Some of the tips from the campaign for staying safe when buying or selling cars or commercial vehicles include:
Do your homework – if the price of the car or vehicle is way below its current value, the “bargain” may indeed be too good to be true.
If you’re contacted by a company promising to buy your car or claiming to have buyers ready and waiting, beware. These are usually scams – some even use an official website’s name to appear legitimate.
Face-to-face contact with the person you are buying from or selling to can reduce the likelihood of you transacting will someone involved in illegal activity.
Is the seller the same person named in the vehicle registration certificate? If not, why not? Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of address, identification.
When carrying out a transaction, make sure you meet people in a public area, preferably somewhere that has CCTV cameras.
If someone wishes to pay by bank draft, meet them at the bank so that you can verify its authenticity before handing over the item for sale.
Make sure you get to meet the person selling or buying the item themselves, and not a person acting on their behalf. Take their photo if possible.
If you have a concern about the bona fides of a buyer or seller, do not go through with the transaction.
If you suspect that a buyer or seller is engaging in illegal activity, call your local Garda station.