One Suffolk resident lost £9,000 to fraudsters after a car-buying scam.

The resident advertised a vehicle for sale on Autotrader for £13,000 and was contacted by a potential buyer.

A viewing of the vehicle was arranged and two men arrived to examine the car.

The seller took the men to test drive the vehicle when the engine appeared to start smoking.

The buyers insisted that they would still buy the car, but at a reduced price due to the engine failure.

Suffolk Trading Standards said that "under much pressure, the seller agreed to accept £4,000" - a £9,000 reduction from the original price.

The scam, which has been reported across the country, sees con-artists secretly pour oil into the coolant reservoir of the vehicle for sale.

Then, they offer a cut-price, falsely claiming the vehicle has a major fault.

The scammers often arrive to view the car in pairs or threes and will try and distract the seller - one may ask to look at the engine whilst the other wants to see the spare tyre in the boot.

When the car is taken for a test drive the engine may smoke or make loud noises which will prompt the scammers to ask for a cut-price deal.

According to Trading Standards, a similar incident happened in Felixstowe in March, but the seller refused the lower off as they were confident that the fault could be easily rectified.

Following this incident, advice has been issued to people selling cars.

They should: 

  • Stay with the buyers - don’t leave them alone with the car or allow yourself to be distracted at the rear of the vehicle whilst someone is looking at the engine.
  • Be aware of suspicious behaviour - scammers will often request an enormous discount due to the ‘fault’ with the vehicle.
  • Be confident to refuse the sale - if you are doubtful about how genuine the buyer is, or you believe that something suspicious is going on, don’t hand over the keys.

Anyone who knows who was responsible or has also experienced a similar incident should contact Suffolk police.