Home News Cops probe ‘car scam’

Cops probe ‘car scam’

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“The scammer will also make an excuse for not being available via telephone and some may even demand the full price of the car, or a deposit, to be transferred immediately”

THE KIMBERLEY police are investigating a case of fraud after a complainant was allegedly scammed earlier this month by a car dealership based in Pietermaritzburg.

This follows after two Kimberley residents were allegedly defrauded of thousands of rand. The two victims claim that they paid R80 000 and

R14 000 respectively to a car dealer in Pietermaritzburg but never received what they were promised and they now cannot trace the dealer.

Police spokesperson Colonel Mashay Gamieldien said that buyers often fall prey to scams as the vehicles are usually advertised at low prices.

“The vehicles are advertised at low prices and potential buyers are then requested to pay money into an account and then wait for instructions in terms of delivery of the vehicles. When the buyers go to the location to collect the vehicle, persons on the premises are not aware of vehicles that must be collected. Thereafter there is no contact or trace of the seller,” said Gamieldien.

She urged prospective buyers to take precautionary measures when purchasing vehicles.

“Car scams can be presented in many different ways and usually occur via the internet, e-mail or SMS. The scams usually have common signs such as the price of the car being well below the market value; the scammer will refuse to provide sufficient contact details; and the contact number provided is either faulty, remains unanswered or goes directly to voicemail. The scammer will also make an excuse for not being available via telephone and some may even demand the full price of the car, or a deposit, to be transferred immediately. Once they have received the money they fail to release the vehicle and become difficult to contact.”

Gamieldien urged prospective buyers to ensure that they do the necessary background checks before entering into an agreement.

“Never transfer or hand over cash to a seller if you have not seen and verified the vehicle. Always meet with the seller in person, preferably in a public place; also do a history check on the vehicle to ensure that it’s not stolen and that the car’s details match those on the ownership registration and roadworthy documents. Ensure that you check that the vehicle identification number (VIN) matches the number on the owner registration and that the roadworthy documents and that the VIN number on the car have not been tampered with. Check that the seller’s address matches the address on the registration and roadworthy documents,” she advised.

Gamieldien also warned that scammers usually prefer to use e-mail as a method of communication.

She advised buyers to contact their nearest police station if they suspect any fraudulent activities.

“If you suspect fraud or are a victim of a scam, contact your nearest police station immediately.

“Police investigations are continuing and no arrests have been made yet,” said Gamieldien.