A seasoned car expert issues a caution to drivers after victims suffer financial losses amounting to thousands of pounds due to private number plate scams on social media.
Jon Kirkbright, a knowledgeable sales director at Platehunter, boasting over 11 years of experience in the motor industry, has noticed a concerning trend. This has prompted him to issue a stern warning to drivers, especially those engaged in buying or selling private registration plates, as the scams proliferate on social media platforms.
Over the past few months, Jon has observed an alarming rise in deceptive activities. Unscrupulous individuals are creating fake accounts on social media platforms, falsely representing themselves as employees of his company. These fraudsters are duping unsuspecting individuals into paying substantial sums for number plates that they don’t possess the authority to sell in the first place.
Jon’s primary concern is that innocent people are falling prey to these fraudulent schemes, potentially tarnishing his company’s reputation and credibility.
Jon states, “It’s disheartening to realise that some individuals are being defrauded of their hard-earned money by individuals pretending to be associated with my company.”
“Facebook permits users to claim affiliations with any company without verification or alerting the company, which is particularly concerning,” he adds.
Jon highlights the deceptive nature of these scammers who can be quite convincing, making them hard to detect. He advises people to remain cautious when it comes to online transactions, especially on social media platforms.
Over years of building a reliable clientele through legitimate sales, Jon is now sharing his expertise to help others identify scams before falling victim to them.
Here are the main private number plate scams and their tactics:
- Sharing Certificate Numbers Online: Sharing your certificate number online can lead to immediate theft of your private registration plate. Fraudsters could use shared images of certificates to attach the plate to another vehicle before a legitimate sale occurs.
- Certificate Picture Scam: Scammers might express interest in purchasing a plate, requesting a photo of the certificate as proof of ownership. They can then use the certificate number to steal the plate and continue scamming others using the image of the certificate.
- Stolen Certificates: In some cases, scammers steal certificates from friends or family members without their knowledge. The legitimate owners might discover this when attempting to use or sell the registration, only to find it already applied to another vehicle. Such cases can be reported to the DVLA for resolution.
Jon emphasises, “At Platehunter, we never finalise sales based solely on social media conversations. We employ phone and email communications, request document submissions, and verify certificate numbers before proceeding with purchases.”
He underscores that Platehunter acts as a reliable intermediary, ensuring transparency and security throughout transactions. If issues arise, refunds are offered to maintain customer satisfaction and prevent fraudulent dealings.
Jon shares advice for online purchasers:
- Verify the Seller: Never send money without confirming the credibility of the seller or company. This rule applies to all online transactions, not just private number plate purchases.
- Protect Certificate Information: Never share your private number plate certificate number on social media. Scammers use this information for their crimes. Share it only with trusted individuals or reputable companies.
- Conduct Research: Thoroughly research the product and seller before committing to a deal. Ensure the price is reasonable and the source is trustworthy.
- Check Reviews: Look for company reviews online. Reviews may mention specific names, aiding in verifying a person’s affiliation with a company.
- Multiple Social Media Platforms: Cross-reference information across various social media platforms and the company’s official website. Contact the company via other platforms or phone for verification.*
The warning stands clear: exercise caution when navigating online transactions, and take preventive steps to avoid becoming a victim of scams.