Outstanding finance was by far the most prevalent risk car dealers faced when buying and selling used vehicles from January to March 2012.
Experian said more than three million used vehicles were checked by motor retailers using its provenance tool between January and March 2012; an increase of 14 per cent compared with the same period last year.
Of the total number of vehicles checked by automotive trade companies, more than 800,000 (27%) were identified as ‘having outstanding finance,’ 4.8% more than the same period in 2011.
Alistair Scullion, managing director of Experian Automotive in the UK and Ireland said: "It is encouraging to see the industry continuing to proactively tackle the issue and investing time and resources in provenance checking. Being able to identify the most prevalent risk factor when acquiring trade-in and used vehicle stock is crucial for car dealers and their customers.
"In the current climate, acquiring and selling a vehicle with outstanding finance could have dramatic consequences both for their dealership and the car buyer.
"Whilst systematic checks evidently enable motor retailers to take the right decisions and avoid high risk-deals it also benefits the automotive industry as a whole by reducing the number of fraudulent vehicles penetrating the market."