Rogue traders who scam sellers of second-hand motor vehicles are being targeted by the government.
Mike Haley, director of consumer protection at the Office of Fair Trading, said some car sellers have fallen victim to cold calling from rogue traders, who promise that they can find them guaranteed buyers in exchange for a fee.
Some 1,600 private sellers of second-hand cars have lost between £80 and £99 each through such scams, according to Consumer Direct, the government advice service.
Mr Haley said: "We are working with the industry and enforcement partners across the UK to crack down on scammers who are preying on consumers during the economic downturn."
Peter Stratton, lead officer of motor trade at the Trading Standards Institute, warned: "High-pressure selling alongside cold calling makes this a very successful scam, often leaving the consumer with very little chance of obtaining redress."
Legal protection from misleading commercial practices is available under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Regulations 2008.
The government's car scrappage scheme, launched last month, allows owners of vehicles which are more than ten years old to scrap them in exchange for a £2,000 discount off a new vehicle.