Gardai are hunting a two man gang who have conned car owners out of hundreds of thousands of euro worth of vehicles using an elaborate bogus bank draft scam.
The gang, understood to be two brother from West Dublin, contact car-owners who advertise their vehicles for sale on social media sales platforms such as DoneDeal.
One of their latest victims was a man from Co Donegal who lost €19,000 when he parted company with his BMW car but has never received payment for it.
The conmen never contact the car-owners by telephone but only get in touch by phone messenger.
They target car-owners in the border regions saying they can only meet prospective sellers in Norther Ireland.
Once the car seller arrives a deal is done but the conmen only produce a picture of a bogus bank draft and promise to lodge the funds into the car-sellers account in one to two working days.
However, a number of car sellers have been left without their cash after the cash never arrived in their accounts.
Attempts to reconnect with the buyers online or by messenger also failed.
Gardai say the scam has resulted in “hundreds of thousands of euro” of promised car payments going missing.
Gardai say that the gang are targeting high-value cars such as BMWs and Audis.
In one incident a car “sold’ to an owner in Northern Ireland resurfaced for sale the following day in the UK.
Garda Crime prevention Officer for County Donegal, Sergeant Paul Wallace, said the scam is made more difficult by the fact the gang are carrying out the fraud in the North.
“This complicates it further because warrants cannot be executed by Gardai, etc. Gardai are still fully investigating this matter but it makes if more difficult.
“We are liaising with our colleagues in the PSNI and a full investigation into these incidents is ongoing.
“However, we would appeal to people not to hand over the keys of their vehicle in return for a picture of a bank draft.
“People may think that this could not happen but people can get carried away and we understand that these people are very convincing,” he said.