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Monday, July 15, 2024

Surge in Private Number Plate Scams in the Realm of Social Media

Automotive experts have issued a stern caution to vehicle owners against engaging in the buying and selling of personalised registrations on social media platforms, citing a mounting risk of falling prey to scams.

As the number of fraudulent cases continues to soar, individuals who list their UK private plates for sale on social media buying and selling forums are at risk of suffering substantial financial losses, spanning hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

Plates4Less, a division of VRM Swansea, has divulged the top three scams that have been gaining traction, along with a comprehensive guide intended to equip motorists with the tools to sidestep becoming victims themselves.

A trio of scams merits vigilance:

  1. Innocent Buyer Trap: An earnest buyer posts a wanted advertisement, only to receive an enticing offer from a scammer, which then leads to a private transaction. However, the buyer ends up empty-handed, losing their funds in the process.
  2. Ownership Illusion: A fraudster, masquerading as a legitimate buyer, manipulates the seller into surrendering their certificate of ownership prior to any monetary exchange. Subsequently, the transaction remains incomplete.
  3. False Listing: A scam artist posts an item for sale, often using someone else’s copy of entitlement as a forged proof of ownership.

Operating from its Swansea headquarters, Plates4less serves as a hub dedicated to facilitating the purchase and sale of private number plates across the expanse of the UK and Northern Ireland.

Antony Clark, the Marketing Manager at Plates4less, remarked, “Instances akin to these are surfacing with increasing frequency, indicating a concerning trend. Prior to parting with any funds, buyers must exercise extreme caution and ascertain the authenticity of the seller’s ownership of the registration mark.

“We would strongly advise exploring the possibility of conducting the sale in person, if feasible. Should the price appear to be exceedingly advantageous, it’s advisable to exercise caution, as appearances can be deceiving,” he cautioned.

The escalation in such cases can be attributed, in part, to shifts in governmental protocols. Presently, anyone possessing a valid certificate number can promptly allocate that registration mark to their vehicle. Consequently, the applicant need not necessarily have a direct link to the registration mark. This alteration renders individuals who inadvertently post their certificates online or fall victim to email breaches highly susceptible to exploitation by scammers.

Numerous victims of private number plate theft encounter the revelation of the crime at a much later juncture, typically when attempting to utilise the registration mark. To their astonishment, they discover that the mark has been allocated to another vehicle.

Plates4Less has issued a set of safeguarding recommendations for private plate owners:

  • Confidentiality of Certificate: Never share images of certificates online.
  • Physical Document Security: Safeguard physical documentation in a secure location and periodically verify its validity every six months.
  • Email Surveillance: Monitor email accounts to ensure that online accounts associated with the DVLA, where plate details are maintained, have not been compromised by scammers.
  • Reputation Assessment: Employ a reputable enterprise for the sale of a number plate or for valuation purposes. Thoroughly scrutinise reviews on third-party platforms.

Antony added, “For the mutual safety of both parties, we strongly advocate for the involvement of a reputable, fully registered intermediary like Plates4Less. This approach guarantees a secure transfer of funds and goods. We provide a secure and gratifying experience for both buyers and sellers. All parties involved are well-informed and can be confident that they will receive precisely what they’ve paid for at an equitable price.”

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcockhttps://businesslancashire.co.uk/
Sam Allcock is a highly regarded digital entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in online marketing for some of the World’s biggest brands. He has extensive knowledge and experience in SEO and digital marketing. He is based in Cheshire but has an interest in all things going on in the North West and enjoys contributing local news to the site.
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