Trading Standards Service (TSS) has asked people to be vigilant when considering online purchases after a Belfast woman lost money on a fake used car sales website.
The 32-year-old was caught out when she decided to buy a 2012 Ford Focus she saw on a used car sales website of a business claiming to be based in England. She spoke online with the business before agreeing to make a bank transfer payment of £4,200.
The website which had over 100 cars displayed was fake and has now closed down. The lady did not receive her car and has been unable to recover her money.
Over the past year at least seven purchasers from Northern Ireland have lost an average of £4,000 in similar scams.
Bill Malloy, TSS 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 http://www.consumerline.org