Car export scamsOne of the most common online scams to affect all kinds of internet users is the Advance Fee Fraud, which encourages sellers to transfer “shipping fees” to “buyers” abroad.

The scam usually involves a fraudster gaining the victim’s trust over a period of several emails, convincing sellers they genuinely want to buy, sending a fake cheque or false PayPal payments to cover the cost before insisting on money for “shipping fees”.

A number of sellers advertising cars have been contacted in this way, but the emails are easy to spot. Typically they will:
• Originate from webmail accounts, such as Yahoo or Hotmail
• Be poorly written, or look as though they’re being sent in bulk with the seller’s vehicle details crudely pasted in
• Encourage sellers to use money transfer services such as Western Union

The scenarios vary, but usually follow this pattern:
• The “buyer” arranges for a cheque to be sent from a third party to the seller for the asking price of the car – plus extra to cover the cost of shipping abroad
• The seller pays the cheque into their bank and is pressured by the fraudster into sending the “shipping fee”abroad immediately via a legitimate electronic money transfer company
• A few days later, the seller will be informed by the bank that the cheque was a fake
• The seller hears no more from the fraudster

If you receive an email which you believe to be from a fraudster:
• Forward it to the abuse department of the sender’s email provider
• Use your email software to block further emails from the sender
• Do not respond
• Forward it to the Auto Trader Customer Security team – scam@autotrader.co.uk