People who are looking to hire cars over the Christmas period have been warned to be on the look out for con artists.
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) said motorists should be vigilant when checking out online or newspaper adverts.
It said that last Christmas a number of scams left people out of pocket after paying deposits for cars that the owners promised would be delivered for free, only to find they never actually arrived.
The warning came amid suspicions that similar scams were under way this year, with the BVRLA working alongside police officers to uncover any wrongdoing.
BVRLA chief executive, John Lewis said: "These companies offer unbeatable prices and free delivery - but they really are too good to be 1.
"Unfortunately it is very easy for fraudsters to build a simple website and set up a call centre to pass themselves off as legitimate businesses.
"These sham operators are damaging the reputation of car rental. We are working with the authorities to help stamp them out."
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