Drivers warned of DVLA car tax scams where fraudsters could steal £5,000

DVLA manager explains the importance of taxing your vehicle

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The DVLA frequently warns drivers on their social media pages what to look out for when they believe they may be being targeted for a scam. As recently as today, the DVLA urged drivers to never share photos of their V5C log book on social media or selling sites.

The Government agency warned that scammers can use those images for themselves for the benefit of identity theft.

It added that drivers should only use the Government website for DVLA services as scammers could sneakily steal personal details to commit fraud.

It also has a dedicated fraud section on its main website where drivers can see whether they are being scammed and what to look out for.

In addition to car tax scams, drivers are also being warned of any car insurance scams, with fraudsters often taking the form of insurance providers.

These scammers, known as ghost brokers, sell “too good to be true” car insurance deals to drivers, unaware that they are buying a policy that is completely worthless. 

According to the Association of British Insurers, the average cost of car insurance is £485. 

Victims of ghost broking could not only be paying this premium, but also a £300 fine when they are penalised for driving an uninsured vehicle.

A spokesperson for Select Car Leasing warned drivers that fraudsters often use platforms like Facebook Marketplace to target drivers.

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The scammers use platforms to advertise vehicles at bargain prices to lure in potential buyers.

The spokesperson added: “One unlucky victim from County Clare paid £5,179 (€6,000) for a car that was never delivered. 

“Professional scammers posing as private sellers pressure motorists to send a deposit, plus extra for vehicle delivery. 

“They then take the money and run – so buyers are left without a car and their money.

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“Scammers have also been known to use Facebook to sell stolen, written-off or financed cars, knowing that there is minimal legal protection once an owner has handed over their cash.”

Not only can it be risky buying a car online, drivers can also experience a number of issues when selling a car of their own.

Some scammers will turn up for an in-person inspection of the vehicle being sold, and distract the seller while an accomplice adds engine oil to the water reservoir. 

The car will of course break down if driven, with the criminals claiming the seller has tried to sell them a faulty car – they’ll use this as leverage for a significantly lower asking price.

The fraudsters will then empty the engine oil out of the reservoir and sell the car on to another completely unknowing buyer. 

There have been reports that some victims of the scam were over £2,000 worse off.

Figures released by the DVLA found a 603 percent increase in reports to its contact centre of fraudulent emails, texts and phone calls in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Public reports of email scams saw the biggest rise from July to September 2020 compared with the same three months last year, jumping from 603 to 3,807 – an increase of 531 percent

The DVLA is reminding customers they should report any suspicious emails they receive to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) through their suspicious email service.

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