Scams: forged banker's drafts

We’ve recommended elsewhere that you pay by a banker’s draft rather than cash, because anyone who isn’t entitled to sell a car won’t want to hang around waiting for a draft to clear. However, with the tables turned you have to be prepared to accept a banker’s draft – but you can still come unstuck.

Forged drafts are rife, but they’re invariably very convincing. They may have watermarks or embossed text, but that doesn’t make them worth anything. The scam works by a forged draft being handed over in exchange for your car. You then let the car go and deposit the draft. The problem is that by the time your bank tells you the draft has bounced, your car has disappeared without trace.

The secret is to insist on the draft clearing and asking your bank if the funds are available before letting your car go. By being straight with the buyer and dealing exclusively from your home, the seller should feel able to trust you – especially if you put everything in writing from the point where you are given the draft.