Last Updated on Apr 7, 2020 by James W

One of the major concerns that motorists have when purchasing a used car is being scammed. It is unfortunate, but this is a reasonable concern and you hear many horror stories of motorists purchasing a vehicle only to later discover that the automobile has a hidden history which proves to be very costly for the new owner. Here are 5 of the most common scams to look out:



The oldest one in the book, clocking is the practice of reducing the mileage to make the vehicle more appealing and to boost its value. Even digital odometers are able to be clocked, making it very difficult for the motorist to determine just how far the car has travelled. In addition to this, modern cars show very little wear and tear – this makes it hard to spot a clocked automobile.


Stolen Cars

Sadly, many criminals manage to steal an automobile and then sell it for very low prices (this helps them to move the vehicle on quickly). The seller will have managed to obtain the keys, which makes the purchaser not question whether or not they are the legal owner. It is for this reason that vehicle history checks are essential. These should always be carried out by specialists, such as HPI. These companies can uncover everything that you need to know about a car’s history so that you can make an intelligent decision.


Cut n Shut

A cut n shut car is one that has been created from various parts of other vehicles. This is illegal and can be very dangerous to drive, but it can also be difficult to tell. This is why you should always check the VIN number and carefully examine used cars before making a purchase.

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Escrow scam

Escrow scams have become more prevalent as more and more motorists search for cars online. The seller will advertise an automobile for a very low price but tell you that it is currently in a different location. They will persuade you to transfer the money to a trustworthy third party until it arrives (often from overseas), but the third party nor the car exists and you are left empty handed.


Outstanding finance

Another common scam is for someone to sell a car with outstanding finance on it (illegal). They will either keep this secret, or claim that they will continue to make payments. If payments do not continue, it will be repossessed by the finance company.


These are the main scams to keep an eye out for and the best way to avoid them is by always carrying out vehicle history checks.


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