Drivers looking for a good deal on a new car are being warned not to fall for a â€œdeplorableâ€ scam that is targeting vulnerable motorists.
Criminals are offering fake leasing deals that require no credit checks and often no deposit in a bid to con drivers with poor credit scores.
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) says the fraudsters are using adverts on social media, in particular Instagram, to pose as legitimate businesses and steal money from unsuspecting victims.
Most car lease deals require customers to pay a deposit and undergo credit rating checks before securing a vehicle.
The fake deals claim to offer a solution for drivers with poor credit scores by bypassing such checks, but the BVRLA warns that in such situations there is likely no deal and no car and people falling for the scam will be left out of pocket.
BVRLA chief executive, Gerry Keaney said: â€œThese criminals are purposely targeting the vulnerable, scamming money from people who can least afford to lose it. Itâ€™s deplorable.
â€œTheir adverts can appear very convincing with some even posing as BVRLA members and citing membership numbers of legitimate members.
â€œWe want to get the message out there that all legitimate leasing brokers adhere to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules and will carry out credit and affordability checks. Those who donâ€™t, will not be legitimate traders and could be out to scam you.â€
The BVRLA is telling people to think twice before responding to any adverts that promote vehicle leasing deals that require no credit checks or deposit and ask people to direct message via text to get the deal.
Customers who want to check whether a leasing broker is a genuine are advised to contact BVRLAâ€™s Adam Holt on email@example.com.