CMA warns of resurgent vehicle scam

Specialist motor insurance loss adjuster Claims Management & Adjusting (CMA) has warned of an increase in the ‘bogus buyer’ vehicle theft method.

The scam sees criminals targeting vehicle owners advertising their car, van or motorbike for private sale and then driving off during a test drive.

Philip Swift, technical director at CMA, said: “The bogus buyer method is as old as the hills and unfortunately it is on the rise again. It starts with deception, taking advantage of peoples’ good nature, and ends with a brazen theft. It generally follows some haggling, sufficient to keep up the pretence. Once a small price reduction is agreed, the seller’s spirits are up and their guard is down. The unscrupulous perpetrator then casually asks for a test drive, constantly looking to a manoeuvre a situation where there is no one near the car and they have the key. They only need a moment and they’re gone.

“With the UK stolen vehicle recovery rate currently at an all-time low of just 23%, down from 80% in 2006, the chances of you ever seeing your car again are not good. And there’s a further potential kick in the teeth in that, while your insurance company may pay out, the process might well be delayed by the need to acquire paperwork related to an ongoing police investigation.”