People purchasing cars are being urged to check if it has outstanding finance against it or risk losing both their money and the new vehicle.
The Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) has reported an increase in the number of cars sold with outstanding finance and is now directing people to check the cars they wish to buy.
Almost four in 10 of all motor fraud cases committed in the third quarter of last year were 'conversion fraud', with people selling cars with outstanding finance against them.
FLA's head of motor finance Paul Harrison said: "We have seen conversion fraud increase, as some people look for an easy way out of financial difficulties by selling a car that does not belong to them.
"The FLA advises used-car buyers to always conduct a vehicle check to ensure it is free from finance. A car with outstanding finance can be illegally sold without a finance company's knowledge. If a finance company is shown on the check as having an interest in the car, be sure to contact them to check whether it is possible to go ahead with the purchase."
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