The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is warning motorists not to fall for car matching scams that are costing an estimated £3 million a year
After putting an advert for their vehicle online or in a newspaper sellers are often contacted by fraudsters who promise they have found a match with a buyer.
The sellers then pay between £80 and £99 each in the promise that a buyer exists, but are left out of pocket and still with their car.
Last year Consumer Direct received more than 1,600 complaints about such scams, but it is expected more people will have fallen victim to the con and are just too embarrassed to come forward.
Mike Haley, OFT director of Consumer Protection, said: "Time is up for rogue traders who attempt to cheat sellers with 0 promises of a guaranteed buyer for their cars.
"We are working with the industry and enforcement partners across the UK to crack down on scammers who are preying on consumers during the economic downturn."
The OFT is working with the police and the Trading Standards Services to tackle the problem and is calling for online and print motoring publications to alert buyers to the scams.
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