Swedish car scam costs Co Down couple almost £5,000
A CO Down couple lost almost £5,000 after they become the latest people to be targeted in a car buying scam.
Three other people from the north have also been conned out of a total of around £13,000 after they fell victim to the same scam, the Trading Standards Service (TSS) said.
The Co Down couple paid £4,850 by bank transfer for a 2010 Ford Kuga which never arrived.
The seller claimed to have returned to Sweden after a period working in Northern Ireland and wanted to offload their right-hand drive car.
Ian Lowe from Coleraine, Co Derry, said he gave the same scammers £4,000 to buy a second-hand Audi which also never arrived.
"I was devastated to lose that amount of money, with a young family with four children at that time of year and then maybe to be told I'd never see it again," he told the BBC.
Bill Molloy of the TSS said the scammers were "very plausible".
"In each case a link was sent to the consumers that opened up a specially created website for the fake logistics company," he said.
"This highlights how scammers are targeting unsuspecting people by using increasingly sophisticated and manipulative tactics."
Mr Molloy revealed the scammers had also tried to fool an English purchaser, and sent him details of a storage depot in south Belfast where the vehicle was supposedly being kept.
"Follow the old adage. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is," he said.