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CONLINE SALES; Net scam lures punters to part with cash for dodgy motors.

Byline: GARRETH MACNAMEE

PUNTERS are being duped into buying dodgy cars in a new nationwide scam, it was warned yesterday.

Con artists are advertising cheap motors online and promise would-be buyers the cars are taxed and have an NCT cert.

But once the cash is handed over, the dishonest sellers claim they need to go and grab the paperwork.

They disappear, leaving the punter with a heap of junk and a lighter wallet, and are never seen again.

The AA yesterday urged anyone buying a used car online to demand the paperwork before any cash is handed over.

The agency warned it has seen vehicles which won't even start or break down within a few miles of driving away from the seller who has since vanished.

Conor Faughnan of AA Roadwatch urged anyone thinking of buying a used car to go to a reputable dealer.

He said: "Gardai have warned us of a new scam, of which they've seen multiple cases since October last year, involving used cars being sold privately on popular websites.

"This type of scam is easily combated through a background check on the car.

"When buying from a private or trade seller, just ask for the serial number on the Vehicle Registration Cert and the NCT cert or disc number.

"Enter this data on an AA Car Data Check and we'll cross-reference these with what's on file for that car, so we can authenticate the VRC and the NCT certificate number.

"You can also find out if the car is currently taxed, written-off and or used as a taxi or Hackney."

Internet car scams have been on the rise as online trade websites have grown in popularity.

And Mr Faughnan said those who have been left out of pocket and with a wrecked motor have no way to retrieve their cash.

He added: "With no recourse, and no laws broken beyond false advertising, they are left to foot the entire bill.

"Gardai are advising never to hand over money without proof of tax, NCT and the logbook, also known as the Vehicle Registration Certificate or VRC."

The Garda are also warning the public about another vehicle scam currently doing the rounds.

This involves buying cars with forged bank drafts and then selling them on for cash.

An innocent driver is tricked into acting as a courier for the fraudster, delivering the cars and forged bank draft and collecting the cash.

A Garda spokesman said: "The fraudster contacts the sellers, questions them about the car and agrees a price.

"His driver meets the seller of the car, checks the car and hands over the bank draft.

"The bank draft is a counterfeit - but by the time the innocent seller discovers this, the fraudster can't be traced."

garreth.macnamee@irishmirror.ie

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BREAK DOWN Buyers warned of clapped-out cars
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 28, 2014
Words:472
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