Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland woman paid out £4k for car which didn't exist

Trading Standards urge public to beware of online scammers

The public has been urged to be vigilant in online business after a Belfast woman paid out thousands of pounds for a car, which didn't exist.

The 32-year-old spotted the Ford Focus on a car dealer website claiming to be based in England. The site appeared genuine with over 100 cars listed for sale.

After speaking online with the business she agreed to make a bank transfer of £4,200. However, the money vanished and the car never materialised. The website, which turned out to be fake, was subsequently shut down.

The woman is thought to be the seventh victim known to Trading Standards in Northern Ireland to have been caught out in the past year.

Trading Standards has urged the public to be vigilant when considering online purchases saying there is a possibility the same fraudsters could be operating under a different business name online to catch others out.

Bill Malloy said: “Once again, Northern Ireland consumers are considerably out of pocket. People should never conclude a deal from someone without being able to touch the car in question and to deal face to face with the seller. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Even when such websites are shut down they will re-emerge under a different name but using the same tactics."

Consumers who feel that they have been a victim should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or alternatively log onto the Consumerline website at www.consumerline.org

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