Drivers have been urged to remain vigilant amid a warning over a scam which has already fooled almost 3,000 motorists across the UK.

People are unsuspectingly handing over their personal details as opportunistic fraudsters con them out of thousands of pounds.

Those looking for second-hand vehicles online are being told to beware of scams after a shocking rise in fraud cases, as people pay for cars that don’t exist.

There are plenty of car-buying scams out there but one specific scam is leading to drivers handing over their hard-earned cash to criminals.

A recent BBC investigation revealed how easy it was to fall for such scams as criminals set up fake online car dealerships and leaving people out of pocket.

Pietro Pagliuco told the BBC that he was duped by what he thought was a legitimate company when he handed over almost £4,000 for a second-hand Nissan Qashqai.

He said: "I honestly didn't have doubts about them. It all looked legit, and a lot of companies deliver stuff these days.”

The elaborate scheme saw Pietro speak to a ‘sales director’ before parting with his cash and he even received a company invoice only to find out it was a scam.

Consumer groups are warning such scams could be repeated as people look for better deals online amid the rising cost of second-hand cars.

Action Fraud suggests a rise of 21% in online vehicle fraud since between 2019 and 2021.