An Airdrie-based car dealer is warning anyone selling high-value vehicles or other items to be aware of scammers taking advantage of the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.
Stephen Bogan, director at James Glen Car Sales, said in a live Facebook video that the dealer was approached by someone looking to buy a £40,000 Porsche.
Alarm bells rang when the prospective buyer wanted to pay in full rather than leaving a deposit, and only asked one question about the car.
“Generally, people want to know about ownership and condition, what it’s been used for, but all they said is what are the tyres like,” Stephen explained. “So alarm bells were there and we proceeded carefully.”
An invoice was raised and sent over to the buyer and when the full balance arrived in the dealer’s bank account, they called the bank to check it was legitimate. They soon discovered that the buyer’s business name ‘BB Ltd’ in fact stood for Bounce Bank Loans.
The scammer did an online search to find out Stephen’s date of birth and used the dealer’s bank details from the invoice and its business address, to apply for a bounce bank loan of over £40,000 in Stephen’s name, to make it look like the car had been paid for.
The government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme offers quick access loans for small businesses who are struggling with the impact of Covid-19.
Stephen warned that dealers need to be “unbelievably vigilant” for people manipulating the scheme.
“Had we not been so careful and double checked with the bank, we would have put this car out, paid for by our own bounce bank loan that we didn’t ask for.
“Anything you think doesn’t smell right probably isn’t right; go with your gut and double check, triple check everything. If you think there’s anything not sitting right just bin it, forget the sale, there’ll be someone straight away out there who will buy it.”