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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Beware of Escalating Scams: Rise in Private Number Plate Deception on Social Media Platforms

Experts have sounded an alarm for motorists, cautioning them against engaging in the purchase and sale of personalized registrations through social media sites due to the increasing prevalence of scams.

Motorists run the risk of losing substantial sums, ranging from hundreds to thousands of pounds, should they decide to list their UK private plates for sale on social media buying and selling platforms, as the frequency of fraudulent incidents skyrockets.

Plates4Less, an integral part of VRM Swansea, has shed light on the three primary scams in circulation and has curated a comprehensive guide to aid motorists in evading potential rip-offs.

There are three primary types of scams that warrant vigilance:

  1. An unsuspecting buyer places a wanted advertisement. A scammer responds with an enticing offer, and the transaction occurs privately. Regrettably, the buyer never receives the intended plate and becomes a victim of financial loss.
  2. A swindler masquerading as a buyer convinces a seller to furnish them with their certificate of ownership prior to any monetary exchange, only to renege on the deal afterward.
  3. A fraudster lists an item for sale that they do not legally possess, often relying on another individual’s entitlement copy as a fabricated proof of ownership.

Plates4Less, a center situated in Swansea, is committed to facilitating the purchase and sale of private number plates across the UK and Northern Ireland.

Antony Clark, Marketing Manager at Plates4Less, conveyed, “Instances akin to these are constantly coming to our attention, and their frequency appears to be on the rise. Prospective buyers must exercise utmost caution and ensure that the seller is indeed the legitimate proprietor of the registration mark before parting with their funds.”

Clark continued, “We strongly recommend that transactions be conducted in person whenever possible. If a price seems overly advantageous, it’s advisable to exercise skepticism, as it might be too good to be true.”

The uptick in such scams can be attributed in part to shifts in government procedures, allowing anyone in possession of a valid certificate number to instantaneously assign that registration mark to their vehicle. This detachment between the applicant and the registration mark has inadvertently exposed innocent individuals who share their certificate online or have their email compromised, providing scammers with ammunition to exploit or sell.

Many victims of private number plate theft discover the crime belatedly when attempting to use the registration mark, only to find it reassigned to another vehicle.

Plates4Less has disseminated these protective measures for private plate proprietors:

  • Refrain from sharing images of certificates online.
  • Store physical documentation securely and review its status every six months (including its validity).
  • Vigilantly monitor emails to ascertain that online accounts affiliated with the DVLA, where plate details are retained, remain untouched by scammers.
  • Engage the services of a reputable establishment to vend a number plate or seek its valuation. Verify their credentials through third-party website reviews.

Antony reiterated, “To ensure the safety of both parties, we advocate for the use of a trusted and officially registered intermediary such as Plates4Less, enabling a secure exchange of funds and goods. We offer a secure and gratifying experience for both buyers and sellers. Every participant is aware of the terms and is guaranteed to receive the anticipated product at a fair price.”

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