Cloned cars 'on the increase in UK'

In the poor economic climate, many of us are constantly on the lookout for a bargain.

However, leading vehicle information expert HPI is warning car buyers about the pitfalls of a price tag that is too good to be 1, as fraudsters continue to cash in on cloned cars.

Kristian Welch, consumer director for HPI, said: "It is worrying that whilst we believe awareness of car cloning has grown, many buyers still choose to ignore the warning signs because their heart tells them it's a dream buy."

Increasingly sophisticated methods of cloning vehicles and conning unsuspecting buyers are being used, so here are HPI's tips for protecting you and your finances.

::Always check the history of the car, and make sure you view it at the registered keepers address shown on the V5/logbook. The V5 may have been stolen, so always check it carefully.

::If you are paying less than 70% of the market price for a vehicle, then be wary.

::Don't pay with large amounts of cash if the cost is more than £3,000. Some cloners will take a bankers draft as part payment, because the cash part is sufficient profit without ever cashing the bankers draft.

Copyright Press Association 2012