An online used car scam has been found to have conned consumers out of thousands of pounds by selling them cars that don’t exist.
The scheme used a website designed to mimic a genuine eBay listing.
According to victims, documents were sent to them from a Daniel Modric living at an address in Caithness, near Thurso, upon transaction.
Linda Bain, whose son lives in the house near Thurso, told the BBC that at least five people had visited looking for cars they believed they had bought.
Welsh consumer show X-Ray spoke to one victim of the con who has lost £5,700.
Gianluca Tremarco, a welder from Pembroke, spent last winter working on an oil rig to help save enough money for a car.
He told X-Ray: “I had been saving for about nine months.
“It was quite hard working away from family and friends, but I wanted to save and get myself a nice new car.”
After searching online he found an Audi and agreed a price of £5,700 but was conned into paying for the car using a fake website.
He was told the car would be delivered to his home for free, but when it did not arrive he discovered that he had been scammed.
Mrs Bain told X-Ray: “The last people were very understanding, but we are worried that may demand some money back from him.”
Dr Pete Burnap, a cyber crime expert at Cardiff University, said it was “relatively easy” to set up a fake sales website.
Police Scotland spokesman said: “The key advice is not to part with any money – either a deposit or the full sum – until you have had the chance to inspect the vehicle in person.
“If the ‘seller’ is demanding money be transferred in advance then ask the question to yourself why they would do so.
“When a deal seems too good to be true then it often is.”