The scheme is described as “car cloning,” and it involves forging papers and license plates to make people think that they are legitimate vehicles.
The apparent legality of those cars remains unscathed even if their alleged details are confronted with an online background check, as even their visible chassis numbers are modified to look like those on a legitimate model from the same make.
In all of the cases identified until this point, the clients found out that they were scammed after the criminals had left with money in hand. All three vehicles documented by the story were stolen, and their documents, plates, and VINs were forged.
Instead of attempting to use identification data from other countries, as theft rings usually work in the rest of Europe or the world, the British thieves went one step further. They copied the details from other vehicles in the country, which were not for sale at that time.
The three victims of the scam paid cash for the cars, and one of them is a retired police officer. He is outraged that his former colleagues have not stopped the scammers in their tracks by now, and that he cannot get his money back.
According to the BBC’s story, a spokesperson for eBay, the website where the cars were listed for sale, has stated that the police have not contacted the e-commerce giant in this case yet.
Moreover, the accounts linked to the ads were closed to prevent other scams using the same credentials. Evidently, there's no guarantee that the scammers will not try again with a new e-mail and a pre-paid phone card.
The same eBay spokesperson insisted on informing buyers that they should always use the platform’s recommended payment solutions instead of handing cash.