Jehanzeb Abass Pakistani expat who had his car stolen right under his nose at Sky Courts, Dubailand. Image Credit: Atiq-ur-Rehman/XPRESS

Dubai: A Pakistani man has been duped of his SUV in Dubai after falling for the familiar car scam.

Like previous victims, Jehanzeb Abbas, 40 didn’t suspect anything when a sweet-talking Arab man approached him after he put up his top-of-the-line 2013 model VKR Toyota Land Cruiser for sale on a popular classifieds website.

“Many people responded to the advertisement, but the Arab offered the best price. He said he was willing to pay Dh160,000 for the vehicle and expressed interest in seeing the car so I asked him to come over to my place at Skycourts in Dubailand,” Abbas recalled.

“As agreed, the Arab man turned up on January 28 and I showed him my car. He inspected it thoroughly and we sealed the deal at Dh162,000.”

On February 1, the man rang Abbas and asked him to come to the Tasjeel Centre in Al Barsha so that they could complete the formalities of ownership transfer against cash payment. Abbas said he was on his way when the man called him and asked him to come to Tasjeel’s Al Ghusais centre instead.

Elaborate deception

“I reached the RTA centre at 9.30pm where I was met by the Arab and his Indian colleague who introduced himself as Kumar. As we headed inside the building, I reminded the Arab to pay the full amount in cash as agreed. Imagine my surprise when he went back on his words before the Tasjeel officer and instead offered me a cheque for Dh162,000. I refused but eventually gave in as I thought I would be able to encash the cheque.

Abbas said he signed the ownership transfer papers but retained the car keys. “I left the car at the Tasjeel Centre, hoping to clear its contents when I returned to hand over the keys.

However, a rude shock awaited Abbas when he visited the centre the following morning. His car was not there. Sensing foul play, Abbas rang up the Arab man but the call remained unanswered.

“I immediately rushed to the bank and deposited the cheque. As I had feared, it turned out to be dud as the man had long closed his bank account. Abbas said he later found out that his car had been resold to a third person. “I am devastated. I wanted to sell the car hoping to get some cash but ended up giving it away for nothing,” he said. XPRESS has reported several cases in recent years where a similar modus operandi has been used to dupe car owners.

Among the victims are Sudanese Mohammad Omar, (Mini Countryman worth Dh120,000), Pakistani Amjad Khan (BMW-6 series sedan worth Dh185,000) and Indian S.R (Nissan Patrol worth Dh230,000.)

As many as 27 people were arrested by Dubai police last year in connection with 74 cases of fraud that involved buying cars online with fake or bounced cheques.

According to Brigadier Salem Al Rumaithi, director of the Criminal Investigation Department, the police hope to come up with solutions to curb this phenomenon.