Motorists are being warned after a number of privately sold cars were repossessed from their new owners.
North Lincolnshire Council's Trading Standards has investigated five scams where a car supplied on loan was sold on privately to an unsuspecting buyer before the loan was repaid.
The vehicles were then repossessed by the finance company which had issued the loans, leaving the new owners with neither the vehicles nor money.
Officers are warning car buyers to be on their guard after two cases involved cars bought in Scunthorpe and one involving a car on an internet auction.
People are being reminded that if they are thinking of buying a car privately to do extra checks on the vehicle, especially if a car is cheap for its age and model.
Trading Standards officers recommend asking the seller questions about finance or loan packages and to get evidence that this has been settled and to be suspicious if the car does not have its original logbook.
Councillor Len Foster said: "Sadly there are scampers operating now who are selling financed cars they haven't yet paid for. With Christmas fast approaching and finances tight don't fall victim to this scam."
Copyright © PA Business 2008