Dubai: Dubai Police recorded 74 cases of fraud and arrested 27 suspects who duped people by buying their cars on the internet by issuing fake cheques or cheques that bounced, police said on Tuesday.
To combat this trend, Dubai Police organised a session to seek solutions to the problem under directives of Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, commander-in-chief of Dubai Police, in cooperation with different government bodies
Brigadier Salem Al Rumaithi, Director of the General Department of Criminal and Investigation at Dubai Police, said they are keen to find ways to tackle this issue.
“We registered 12 recommendations and will send it to the concerned authorities for approval as a step to crack down on the crime,” Brigadier Al Rumaithi said.
Police urged public who sell their cars through social media and on internet to ensure they collected their money at the time of the sale of their car or to have enough guarantees.
Police said that fake buyers use forged or bounced cheques to purchase the cars on a Thursday and knowing well that the seller will not be able to know if the cheque will clear or bounce until Sunday. As soon as the fake buyer registers the car under his name, he sells it to another buyer, pockets the money and disappears.
Colonel Omar Mohammad Bin Hammad, Deputy Director of the Anti-Economic Crime Department, said 74 cases of fraud cheques were registered last year and 27 suspects arrested.
“People should be careful when they sell their cars, even if [they get a] manager cheque. It’s better to go to the bank to ascertain if the cheque is real and see if the buyer has money in his account before selling the car,” Col Bin Hammad added.
Dubai Police will launch a campaign to raise awareness among the public on the selling or buying of second hand cars through the internet.
Sultan Abdullah Al Marzouqi, from Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said that it’s necessary to have the buyer and the seller in front of the [bank] employee to transfer the ownership.
“We have made an electronic link between RTA and the banks about the clearance of cars so the owner who has the car through a loan can’t sell the car without the bank’s approval,” Al Marzouqi said.
He said that they had 110,000 owner-transfer transactions last year in Dubai.
“The problem is that some people get lured by a fake buyer when he gives them a cheque without negotiating the price of the car. The victim thinks he has got a good deal and sells his car,” he added.
One of the recommendations is to not allow registration or transfer of ownership of a car if the car has been bought two days before only.
Another suggestion is that the car seller must show approval that he has received his money before transferring the vehicle ownership.
Prosecutor Dr Mohammad Hussain Al Hamadi from Dubai Public Prosecution said they are planning to register such cases in the police station as these are cases of fraud and not a bounced cheque case.
“We investigate the incident and see if it’s a fraud or a bounced cheque case and based on that, refer it to court. Now we will start registering such cases as fraud. The dispute in such cases will be a criminal dispute, not a civil dispute,” prosecutor Al Hamadi said during a brainstorming session.
Punishment for a fraud case can be from a month up to three years in jail.