Car scams surge 74%

The Ford Fiesta was the most commonly targeted vehicle scam via fake adverts online.

Scammers also featured BMWs and Audis heavily in fake ads, with motorbikes and classic cars also cropping up regularly.

Fake ads for parts and accessories, such as alloy wheels, are also common in online vehicle scams the bank said.

 claims vehicles and  accessories are now the most common type of online shopping scam reported by fraud victims in the UK. 

According to scam victims, vans are also often popular because people are seeking cheap models to be converted in campervans, Lloyds said.

Our investigation In January 2023 warned that VW's humble Transporter van had become a fraudsters' favourite scam vehicle. 

The findings were based on analysis of scams reported by Lloyds Banking Group customers during between January and June 2023.

This was then compared with the same period in 2022 - and a 74 per cent increase was found.

Lloyds said aged between 25 and 34 being the most likely age group to report being duped by scam vehicle ads.

How the scam works 

Vehicle scams work by fraudsters creating fake posts on social media or online marketplaces to advertise vehicles that do not exist.

They will include pictures of genuine cars or vans to convince unsuspecting buyers that they are genuine.

When a potential buyer responds, they will often be asked to make a deposit to 'secure' the car, or even sometimes to pay the full amount, alongside excuses as to why the car cannot be physically viewed ahead of the payment being made.

Fraudsters will often use pressure-selling tactics, telling the buyer the car is very popular, that they have several other offers, or that the payment must be made by a certain deadline, Lloyds said.

Victims may be tricked into sending money via bank transfer.

As soon as the payment is made, the buyer will be blocked and the seller's profile will disappear. 

Occasionally, a fake address will be provided at which to collect the car, leaving buyers with a wasted trip alongside the financial loss.

Most targeted vehicles 

There is always high demand for reliable, cost effective cars. The Ford Fiesta is one of the nation's most popular cars but also the most popular target for for scammers to reel in unsuspecting buyers. 

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders in August indicated that the Ford Fiesta was the UK's best-selling used car between April and June. 

The manufacturer recently ended production of the car at its factory in Cologne, Germany, so buyers may now be even more keen to get their hands on the model.

Premium brands – such as BMW and Audi – also feature heavily among the fake ads. 

Liz Ziegler, fraud prevention director at Lloyds Bank said: 'Buying directly from approved dealers is the best way to guarantee you're paying for a genuine vehicle, and always use your debit or credit card for maximum safety.

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