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Increasing Number of Social Media Scammers Targeting Private Plate Buyers and Sellers

Car owners are being warned by Plates4Less to avoid using social media sites for buying and selling private number plates because of the growing number of scams in this market. Motorists risk losing hundreds or thousands of pounds as social media fraudsters find new ways to part you from your hard-earned cash when you try to buy or sell a personalised or private plate.

The ever-increasing personalised number plate market provides scammers with ample opportunities for ripping off unwary drivers. Now, experts have issued a guide outlining the three main types of scams and how to avoid becoming a victim yourself. The top three scams you need to be aware of are:

  1. You post a wanted ad for a specific private plate. The fraudster quickly responds with an enticing offer and prompts you conduct the transaction in private with payment up front. But the plate never arrives, and you find yourself heavily out of pocket.
  2. A scammer poses as a genuine buyer of your plate and convinces you to send your certificate of entitlement to confirm your ownership before money changes hands. The “buyer” disappears with the certificate leaving you with no sale, no money and no plate.
  3. The fraudster advertises a personalised plate they don’t own by using somebody else’s certificate of ownership so they appear to be genuine. You pay the asking price or agreed price after negotiating but you never receive the plate or valid certificate.

The increase in these fraudulent activities is partly down to the DVLA making the transfer of private number plates quicker and easier. Anybody with a valid entitlement certificate number can have the personalised plate assigned to their vehicle immediately. However, that means if a scammer gets hold of your certificate number, they can use it themselves, sell it on, or use it to con other unsuspecting buyers into parting with cash.

Often, the victims of personalised / private number plate crime are unaware of the fraud until much later when they attempt to assign the registration number to their car, only to be told the plate has already been registered to another vehicle.

Protect Yourself from Number Plate Scammers

There are ways to safeguard yourself from fraud when buying or selling personalised number plates via social media sites. If you’re a buyer:

  • Try to carry out the transaction in person. If anything about the seller or the paperwork doesn’t seem right, walk away.
  • Use a secure payment method so you might be able to get your money back in the event of fraud.

If you’re selling a plate:

  • Always keep your certificate in a safe place and check its validity periodically.
  • Never post images of your certificate on social media selling sites.
  • Make sure your online DVLA accounts and emails with details of your plates haven’t been accessed by hackers (use strong passwords and change them from time to time)

Use a Reputable Cherished Number Dealer

The only way to be completely safe from personalised number plate fraud is to use a trusted, respected, and registered number plate dealer, such as CarReg. Established over 30 years ago, CarReg is a member of all trade bodies (CHERISHED NUMBERS GUILD, RMI-CNDA, M.I.R.A.D) and we offer the easiest and most secure way of buying and selling private number plates. In the event of any problem up until the registration is legally assigned to your vehicle the liability will be with the dealer and your purchase will be secure. Find your perfect plate today.