Scams and fraud

Fraud Warnings

Classic & Sports Car encourages buyers and sellers to keep aware of scams at all times. Up-to-date information and advice on how to stay safe when buying a car can be found on the Metropolitan Police’s website

Criminals are always keen to exploit car buyers and sellers so be aware of typical scams at all times.

As well as all the traditional warning signs (people who want to do a deal in a lay-by etc) when buying a classic car always look out for:
•    Companies claiming they are offering financial services through Classic & Sports Car
•    Prices that are exceptionally low and “too good to be true” usually are 
•    Anyone asking to complete the transaction using either Western Union or Moneygram 
•    Sellers requesting the full payment in cash in person in an unsecured environment
•    Fraudulent Escrow sites. The fake escrow site is run by the "seller" and is therefore not the safe place for your money that it appears to be. This can also work the other way with fraudulent buyers so be aware.
•    Quick sale scams – people claiming they need a quick sale as they are moving country. The fraudsters then try to get potential buyers to send large deposits but there is no car 

When selling look out for
•    Anyone who sends a cheque for more than the cost of the item and asks you to send the ‘change’ back with the item when you send it 
•    Scammers calling sellers telling them they have a buyer, but they need a fee over the phone with a debit card first. They then withdraw as much money from the account as possible 
•    Be wary of any buyer who shows more interest in obtaining personal details than the condition of the goods that you're selling 
•    Never accept payment for more than the agreed price
•    Be aware of fake emails purporting to be from payment sites including paypal 


Payments through Classic & Sports Car

Be aware that Classic & Sports Car does not offer a secure payment service. If you are invited to complete the sale in this way, you should not take the transaction any further.  The only service offered by Classic & Sports Car is a place to advertise cars, we do not get involved with payment handling in any way. This service might be offered via email and mention Classic & Sports Car throughout, but we do not offer this service. 

Prices that are exceptionally low and “too good to be true” usually are.
If a car you are interested in is suddenly removed from the site please be aware that this may be because the advert is fraudulent. A seller will not usually remove an advert until the deal has been done, so be on your guard if a seller claims to have removed an advert because they believe you will buy the car. 

These scams are usually advertising a car that is priced significantly below market value. If something seems to good to be true it usually is. 

Western Union or Moneygram scams
These payment systems are designed to be used by for exchanging money between people who know each other, not for buying and selling. Scammers ask you to send the value of the car via wire-transfer to yourself or another trusted person and then send them a copy of the receipt or various other details to prove you have the funds to pay.

This is supposedly to avoid time-wasters but in reality they then use this information to impersonate you and withdrawn the cash without your consent. 


There have been cases where buyers looking for a particular model have placed wanted ads on the internet. The advertiser has then been contacted by email or phone and offered a car matching the specification required. The buyer is then requested to meet the seller and to take cash.

Upon arrival the buyer is met by armed men and forced to hand over the cash. It sounds obvious, but even experienced motor traders have been taken in by plausible stories like this. NEVER AGREE TO TAKE CASH WITH YOU and if you want to payby cash do so in a secured environment such as a bank. Also, ask for enough details of the car to satisfy your curiosity that the car is in their possession and that they are familiar with it. There has recently been a resurgence in this kind of crime across all car classified websites. Please use caution.

Fake Escrow Scams

This fraud revolved around the scammer setting up a fake website offering escrow services.

 Escrow services act as a third party in a long distance sale, A genuine Escrow Service allows sellers to send goods safe in the knowledge that funds exist and are being held safely until the goods have been delivered. In turn, the buyer can feel secure in that the car can be seen, checked for suitability/condition and the money will only be paid over when this is confirmed to the Escrow Service. In this scam however, the fake escrow site is run by the "seller" and is therefore not the safe place for your money that it appears to be.

When used with car sales the "seller" normally asks for money to be paid into a specific escrow service before they will bring the car for you to view. Costs of shipping the car from one country to another, or problems with timewasters are commonly used excuses for wanting to use an escrow service. Once the money is paid to the escrow service it will immediately be transferred out by the "seller" who will disappear, never to be seen again.

The fraud can also work the other way, a fraudulent buyer can attempt to trick a seller into handing over a car that haven't been paid for by simply sending an official-looking e-mail from a fake escrow service stating that funds have been received and to go ahead and with transfer of the vehicle. The scammer will disappear with the car and the fake escrow service will string the seller along for long enough for them to make a clean get away.

While genuine ecscrow services can be a good precaution, you should be EXTREMELY wary of anyone who insists on using a particular site. NEVER follow links given in emails, always navigate to the site yourself via a search engine. Check any site out VERY carefully before using it, The fake websites can be extremely hard to spot. Several sites (including Ebay) maintain lists of genuine escrow services which should always be checked.

If in any doubt, do not send any money to anyone. There are always plenty more cars on the market which are not scams. if it looks to good to be true, it probably is.

"Quick Sale Required"

A scam that has emerged this year is from con artists claiming to have a reason for selling very, very quickly. Sometimes this is to do with a claim that they've had to move out to mainland Europe at short notice they say the are in a rush to sell and that the car is cheaply priced because of that.

Bargain cars always attract a lot of responses, especially via email. The fraudsters then try to get potential buyers to send large deposits to secure either delivery of the car or first look at it. The car probably doesn't even exist - often the pictures have the number plates blanked out or inconsistencies. IF THE PRICE OF A CAR SEEMS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE - TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS! If anyone's ever in a hurry to sell a car they can sell it to a dealer.



NEVER ACCEPT PAYMENT FOR MORE THAN THE AGREED PRICE. These scams usually involve faked cheques or bank transfers that exceed the agreed amount. The criminals request that you send them the difference when they discover the 'mistake'. Subsequently the banks then discover that the cheques were fake or that the bank transfer wasn't of valid funds and debit your account leaving you out of pocket.

Buyer Waiting Scam

Rather than being carried out via email, the latest scam to come to our attention is carried out over the phone.

Scammers are calling sellers up telling them they have a buyer for their car with money ready, but the seller just needs to pay a £4.99 fee over the phone with a debit card first they then go ahead and withdraw as much money as possible from the victim's account, emptying it completely if not stopped.

We advise that you are very wary about any company phoning up claiming to have buyers waiting as soon as you make a payment. Even if they do not intend to empty your bank account, genuine companies will not require upfront payment from the seller and you are likely to be left out of pocket waiting for imaginary buyers to get in touch.

Foreign Buyers/Agents

The most common scam attempted via the internet is of a foreign buyer or agent wanting to buy your car or bike despite not having seen it. They say they'll agree to the asking price. The details of the scam vary, but usually start with asking for your name, address and sometimes bank details.

Sadly, you need to be suspicious of any buyers from Africa for this reason. Sometimes these scams also originate in the Netherlands.


PayPal Scam

The scam works by the legitimate seller being emailed by an interested "buyer" or scammers, the scammers suggests payment through the secure payment site PayPal, they claim to have transferred the agreed sum into the seller's PayPal account. However, they've actually transferred nothing. The scammers say PayPal is holding the money until they've received the goods. It is likely you'll receive emails which claim to be from PayPal, they'll look authentic and reassure you that it's safe to proceed - these are fake

PayPal does not hold funds until an item is sent.
Beware of fake PayPal emails. 


VSTAG and Action Fraud

The Vehicle Safe Trading Advisory Group (VSTAG) website contains up to date information on everything relating to buying or selling a car and also offers advice on what to do when things go wrong. The website allows victims to report individual frauds, these are then added to a national database with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice.