Are Car Text Checks A Scam?
Life’s tough and even if you’re having a hard time, that doesn’t mean you have to be without reliable transportation. One way to ensure the best deal on a used Fiesta, Corsa, or another vehicle you fancy is by accessing reliable information to make an informed car buying decision.
What Are Car Text Checks?
To say that car text check companies are a penny a dozen is an overstatement, but not by much. Thanks to the ubiquity of mobile devices and apps, hundreds of companies and individuals – some reputable, some not – offer these services, often with “free” or unbelievably low rates to entice hungry car buyers into their ecosystem.
Ideally, these vehicle-specific information services are designed to provide reliable information needed to make an informed choice when buying a new or used car. By tapping a registration number into a text message, you should get the vehicle history shortly after clicking send. Voila!
How Much Does A Car Text Check Cost?
The old adage “you get what you pay for” applies to many things. If you buy McDonald’s fast food for lunch, don’t expect the service you’d get from a silver service restaurant. The same goes for car text check services. By doing your best Sherlock Holmes, you’ll discover companies charging unbelievably low rates — £3 or £4 – while others charge several times that much. A legitimate service will charge somewhere in the region of £10 to £12 per enquiry. A company offering a low or a free introductory rate is most definitely not including a finance check on the vehicle you want.
Are Car Text Checks A Scam?
Like any other industry, car text checks feature its share of dodgy characters, so be on the lookout for anything that seems to be too good to be true. As a rule of thumb, data returned via text from a legitimate service should include plain characters only, without links to other websites. If you’ve bought vehicle data from a service and are asked to follow a link for more information, cut your losses.
This begs the question: Are car text checks a scam? In and of themselves, no. Receiving the most reliable vehicle data requires working with a reputable vendor.
Beware Of Car Scams
Beware of scams. They’re everywhere, but there are ways to defend against fraud, whether buying used, selling your car or just getting a quick tune-up from a reputable garage.
- Believe that little voice in the back of your mind screaming the offer is too good to be true. Whether it’s a Fiesta with an odometer at 15,000 miles, cheap life insurance, or a big tax refund, you should always proceed cautiously.
- Do some research on potential scams, see what’s trending on social media, television programs, and news sites for reports of recent scams.
- Never hand over money without first asking the seller for the make, model, and registration number of the vehicle before you meet them. Then, run these through the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), or work with a reputable car text check service.
- When inspecting the vehicle, ensure all the VINs on the car are the same and match those in the V5C logbook, and always make an effort to inspect the car at the seller’s address on the logbook, and not a service station or lay-by.
- Know the car’s market value before talking with the seller. If the asking price seems too good to be true, be wary. And never pay with cash.
- Before finalizing the purchase, watch out for unexpected contact from an alleged DVLA representative or an insurance company, and never follow any links or call numbers from suspicious emails.
- When in doubt, report any suspected scams to Action Fraud as soon as possible.
Are DVLA Texts Real?
A popular car scam in recent years has witnessed innocent motorists receiving text messages and emails from fraudsters masquerading as a DVLA rep or from a GOV.uk account, extending car tax refunds for consumers if they follow a link.
People are asked for personal information by the fraudster, including banking and contact information, which criminals then use to squeeze more money from the victim or to engage in identity theft. Yes, these people are nefarious.
In response, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has stated publicly what should be plainly obvious: “We don’t send emails or text messages with links to websites asking you to confirm your personal details or payment information” and advise recipients to delete the message immediately.
No, DVLA texts aren’t real.
What Are The Benefits Of Our Car Text Check Service?
You work hard for your money and deserve value for every pound that you spend. Whether buying new or used, the cost of a car is a major investment for most people. Because fraudsters and car scams are rampant, it’s a good idea to validate car information beforehand. The benefits of a car text check vendor include:
- A reputable car text check service can tell you if the vehicle has been reported as stolen. Because car theft in the U.K happens so frequently, there’s a chance a fraudster will try and sell it to an uninformed consumer – likely resulting in the vehicle being impounded and remanded to the real owner.
- You’ll also know if the car has been written off as a result of an accident or other driver negligence. Make sure the car text check service you go with provides data from the Insurance Category, so you are aware of accident and damage history.
- A stolen logbook check will ensure you’re not dealing with a fake V5C document. And remember, the V5C “is the most important document you will possess as a car owner in the UK and it is essential to keep hold of it.”
- A car text check from a reputable vendor will confirm a vehicle’s make, model, transmission, colour, engine displacement, plus keeper’s details and chassis number are the same as those maintained by the DVLA. All this data is available once you provide the vehicle registration number.
- By providing the vehicle registration number, our service will confirm any number plate changes related to the car in question. This information can lead to other valuable data to inform your purchase decision.
By providing consumers with legitimate and accurate vehicle information, we not only protect your interests, but help stamp out car text check scams throughout the U.K.
It Never Hurts To Double Check
If you’re thinking of buying a used car in the U.K. and you’re sure it’s a good deal, it never hurts to double-check the information before paying for the vehicle. It’s peace of mind. Regardless of your personal situation or finances, you can’t afford to get scammed. Here are some final reminders:
Before examining the vehicle:
- Ask to see the vehicle registration number, make and model, and test number from the Ministry of Transport.
- Confirm that the information you’ve been given by the seller matches the data on file with the DVLA.
- Check the vehicle’s MOT status and make sure its history matches the details the seller gave you.
- Check for a vehicle recall, to confirm if there’s been a serious safety issue with the car you want to buy.
When seeing the vehicle in person:
- Ask to see the V5C. Ensure it has a ‘DVL’ watermark, and the serial number is not between BG8229501 to BG9999030, or BI2305501 to BI2800000 – which could indicate a stolen vehicle.
- Again, confirm the details in the logbook match what you’ve been given.
- Always ensure the vehicle identification number and engine number are identical to the details on the logbook.
Think You’re Being Scammed? Report It!
Scams of all sorts – phishing, Ghost Brokers – are proliferating across the UK just as they are in many other countries. Sometimes without thinking about it, people drop their guard. In fact, more than 50 percent of Brits say they haven’t taken steps to protect against potential scams.
The services we provide are 100 percent safe and accurate. The future of our business depends on your peace of mind, but you have to protect yourself against the scams running rampant across the UK. If you think you’ve been scammed, report it:
- Call Action Fraud at 0300 123 2040 or visit their website.
- Report fraudulent activity to the Metropolitan Police and review their guide describing popular scams.
- Don’t forget about Scamsmart, a campaign established by the Financial Conduct Authority to protect consumers from being taken in by fraudulent investment offers.
Car text check services are only as useful and legitimate as the company providing them. There are text check scams out there, but we believe you can protect yourself by choosing our service. A few final reminders:
- Work with a reputable car text check vendor.
- Low fees or free, one-time offers may be signs of a fraudulent company.
- Pay attention to your feelings. If something seems too good to be true, it probably us, and you should avoid any such transactions.
- If you suspect the seller isn’t being honest, politely decline further contact.
- Double-check the car information with what’s on file with the DVLA.
- Any such transaction should be paid for with a check or other traceable payment – never cash.
Finally, if you suspect fraud or feel you’re in danger, contact the authorities.