Sharjah: An alert Emirati grew suspicious of a woman’s offer to buy his car and saved himself from becoming victim of a scam.
Abdul Rahman had posted an advertisement on Instagram to sell his electric Mercedes SUV.
He told Gulf News that a woman contacted him on WhatsApp asking for the vehicle’s ownership documents so she could check if it had been involved in any accident. Two days later, she sent him documents, purported to be her driving licence and Emirates ID, and promised to transfer the price of the vehicle soon.
She asked him to have the vehicle delivered to her on a recovery truck and transfer the ownership in her name. Abdul Rahman refused to accept the money until he made a document that guarantees the rights of the buyer and seller, to which she agreed.
“I went to an office in Souq Al Haraj used car market in Sharjah to prepare the document. The woman told me she has transferred the amount and sent me a digital receipt, so I had the vehicle moved to her address [in Al Ain],” said Abdul Rahman.
“After the weekend, I contacted the woman and told her the amount had not arrived. She said if I didn’t receive the money by the end of the day, she would visit her bank the next day to ensure the bank has cleared the transfer, as it was a large amount.”
Abdul Rahman had not sent the car number plates along with the vehicle as he wanted to receive the money first.
He grew suspicious of the woman after the money failed to show up in his account the next day and went to a police station. It turned out that the ID that had been sent to him actually belonged to another woman whose documents had been fraudulently used in similar scams.
Abdul Rahman told the police officer that his vehicle has a GPS tracking system, which the officer used to trace the car -- it was tracked to a location in Al Ain. The officer told him to go to the location and contact the police there.
Abdul Rahman reached Al Ain and stood at a distance from the car. He called the police, who reached the location shortly. The officer verified Abdul Rahman’s account and advised him to take his car, which was still under his ownership and legally belonged to him.
But as Abdul Rahman didn’t have the vehicle’s keys, a recovery truck transported the vehicle back to his home.
The police have all the documents and chats exchanged between the fraudster and Abdul Rahman, and are following up the matter.
Meanwhile, Abdul Rahman contacted the woman - pretending to be unaware of her scheme - and asked her why the money was not transferred to his account. She insisted that her the bank told her the amount had already been deposited in his account. It was at this moment that Abdul Rahman told her that he knew she was a fraudster.
Believing the vehicle was still in Al Ain, the woman demanded Abdul Rahman to pay her Dh20,000 if he wanted his car back, or else she would ship the vehicle out of the UAE. She boasted that her other victims had paid the ransom.
Word of caution
Abdul Rahman advised others not to sell their vehicle without meeting the buyer in person.
“I had trusted the woman because she pretended to be elderly, saying it was not easy for her to move around and meet people. So I told her we can initiate the procedures on WhatsApp and then I would officially transfer the ownership of the vehicle when I receive the money. I got out of the scam in time but it might be too late for others if they’re not careful,” he said.