Internet scammers are advertising bogus vehicle leasing deals on social media and are extracting money from unsuspecting customers, said the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA).
The trade body said scammers were posing as BVRLA members in social media advertising, including Instagram, to lure in customers with advertising headlines targeting those with poor credit ratings.
The BVRLA said customers should exercise vigilance and think twice before responding to any adverts that promote vehicle leasing deals that require ‘No credit checks’, promote ‘No deposit’ and ask people to ‘Direct Message’ via text to get the deal.
BVRLA chief executive, Gerry Keaney, said: “These criminals are purposely targeting the vulnerable, scamming money from people who can least afford to lose it. It’s deplorable. Their adverts can appear very convincing with some even posing as BVRLA members and citing membership numbers of legitimate members.
“We want to get the message out there that all legitimate leasing brokers adhere to Financial Conduct Authority rules and will carry out credit and affordability checks. Those who don’t, will not be legitimate traders and could be out to scam you.”
The BVRLA has reported this emerging threat to the authorities and will continue to explore ways of increasing awareness to protect customers and BVRLA members.
Customers who want to check whether a leasing broker is a genuine BVRLA member are advised to contact the BVRLA directly.
In June, quarterly leasing survey results released by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) have shown a decline in the fleet leasing sector for the first time since it began compiling the survey in 2014.
Data shows the total car and van fleet leasing sector in the UK now stands at 1.3m vehicles, a year-on-year decline of 16,000. The passenger car fleet leasing market also continued to shrink and, was now at 948,000 vehicles. This followed a growth of 2% in Q4 2017 and a growth of 11% in the same period of 2017.