Private bike sellers are being targeted by email scammers offering a cheque for double the value of the bike and asking for the change to be refunded before the bike is collected.
Trading Standards warned that where similar offers have been accepted, the first cheque has turned out to be bogus but sellers have not realised until too late.
The first cheque clears into the seller’s account long enough for the balance to be refunded as requested, then bounces, leaving the sellers thousands of pounds out of pocket while no-one ever comes to collect the bike.
Jane Day, senior advisor and education officer for Peterborough Trading Standards, said: “I haven’t of this before with motorbikes but I have with cars.” She added: “There’s absolutely no reason why anything should be sold on this basis.”
Reader George West received one of the emails, written in broken English, last week. West, 36, from Scarborough, said: “This should be highlighted to other readers as genuine people may be ripped off.”