Car Crime Awareness Week (17-23 May 2010) aims to warn people how to avoid becoming a victim of this organised crime.
The awareness week organisers are issuing some important advice to help people protect themselves.
- When buying a car, new or used, do your research. Know what to expect from the make, model and age of the vehicle – if the deal looks like it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
- If buying a used car, always get a vehicle history check, and remember some check providers offer a more comprehensive check – such as finance information – than others.
- Establish who the seller of the vehicle is – are they the legal owners of the vehicle, or is it a reputable dealer?
- Check the car thoroughly for damage and make sure the vehicle identification numbers (VIN) match the documents.
- Take the car for a test drive and if buying a used car, consider having it checked out by an auto mechanic.
- Consider in advance how you will pay for the vehicle. Cash can be dangerous, particularly if meeting a private seller at an unfamiliar address. Always meet the seller at their residential address, never, for example, in a pub car park or petrol station.
- If buying a vehicle on the web, ensure you’ve done all your checks before transferring any payment.
Justice for fraudsters and protection for consumers
The Car Crime Awareness Week is being run by an Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) unit - ACPO Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (AVCIS) – and the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA).
The AVCIS investigates and recovers fraudulently-obtained vehicles and brings offenders to justice. Since the unit opened in December 2006, they have made 236 arrests and recovered more than 1,700 vehicles with a value exceeding £33.2million.
Paul Harrison, Head of Motor Finance at the FLA, said: “If these stolen cars had not been recovered then lenders losses may have been passed onto law-abiding customers through higher interest rates.”
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To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online reporting tool.