According to Dubai Police, the gangs would issue dud cheques to the sellers to buy the vehicles. Image Credit: Pixabay

Dubai: Dubai Police have busted seven gangs of car buyers who cheated unsuspecting potential sellers last year. They also managed to recover a stolen car from the middle of the sea.

According to Dubai Police, the gangs would issue dud cheques to the sellers to buy the vehicles, knowing full well that it could take several days before the bank would decline to clear the payment and the fraud would come to light, by which time both the crooks and the vehicle would be untraceable.

Colonel Omar Bin Hamad, Director of Anti-Economic Department at Dubai Police, said these criminals always target victims who sell vehicles online and close the deal on Thursdays after banks close. “Thieves show interest in buying the car and then insist on changing the ownership of the car on a Thursday, knowing that the car seller would accept dud cheques [without knowing their real status],” said Col Bin Hamad. “The car owner would discover the scam only after a few days as the cheques would bounce.” He said Dubai Police had foiled the gang’s operations. Two people staying in a neighbouring country were the masterminds behind the scam.

“They had a woman involved as well and she once managed to steal a car worth Dh300,000. She lured the car owner with Dh20,000. He trusted her and didn’t realise that she was a scammer,” Col Bin Hamad added.

In another operation, Dubai Police successfully recovered a stolen car after it was transported to a European country on a cargo ship. “A European expat was scammed with a dud cheque. We arrested the suspects and discovered that they had forged the car’s documents and shipped it. We identified the cargo ship, which was heading to a European country,” Col Bin Hamad added. Dubai Police recovered the car and brought it back to the country on the same ship.

How do these car scams happen?

Explaining the modus operandi of criminals, Col Bin Hamad said the gang would lure potential car-sellers to a sale deal and convince them to accept a cheque instead of cash. By the time the sellers realised that they had been duped with dud cheques, it would be too late.

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What should a seller do to ensure he or she isn’t cheated?

Col Bin Hamad warned potential car-sellers to be cautious about fraudulent car buyers. “Don’t transfer the ownership of your car before receiving the full amount. Individual car-sellers should stay vigilant against strangers who want to buy vehicles with cheques,” Col Bin Hamad added. He said scammers usually don’t negotiate about the vehicle’s price, which helps in further deceiving the sellers.