A MUM has told how she fell for a car scam which has left her family thousands out of pocket.
The Sunderland woman and her husband took out a loan of £2,750 to pay for the Nissan Micra they found for sale on an online trading site.
They arranged to look at the car, after checking it was genuine, had not been in any serious crashes or there was any finance outstanding on it.
When the seller failed to turn up, the scam story he had told them began to unravel and they discovered that cash they had put in a holding account was gone.
The victim, who is in her 40s and has two children, said: “I hope nobody else falls for this. It all looked legitimate and we were thinking ‘great’.
“When the car failed to turn up, we realised we’d been done and we got back in touch with him and he just made excuses, saying he’d been involved in a crash in the car on the way here.
“We called the police and then when we checked the account the money had been taken out in Wembley in London.
“Afterwards, when we started looking over it again, we noticed things like there were pink accessories in the car in the photo, which didn’t seem right because this was a man’s car.
“This is still someone’s car as well. Who knows whether they even know this has been going on.”
The con is one of a series of cases to have hit the region in recent weeks. The Echo reported how a similar amount of cash was taken from an East Durham woman in a similar scam.
Police have urged those who are looking to buy a car to stick to reputable dealers.
The Wearside victim, who has asked not to be named, only had contact with the vendor via email and told the family he was selling the car because he had moved to Ireland and had a van for work.
He asked for proof they had the funds to go through with the sale if happy with the vehicle, so they put it into an account with a trading firm, which they believed was real, with the promise he would pay the £77 fee.
By the time they realised they had been tricked, the cash had been withdrawn in London and the banking webpage had disappeared from the internet.
The couple now face paying back the loan over the next three years with nothing to show for their debt.