New Scam Targeting Online Car Shoppers in UAE

Published March 10th, 2019 - 11:13 GMT
Residents are advised not to transfer money until they see and test the car. (Shutterstock)
Residents are advised not to transfer money until they see and test the car. (Shutterstock)

Are you planning to buy a car through any of those famous websites? You need to be extra careful as scammers also show interest in this popular platform.

The golden rule here is simple: Never ever pay a penny until you see and test your car and make it 100 per cent sure that the vehicle is not stolen.

An Arab resident, Ayman Abdullah, told Khaleej Times that he is among the ones who preferred to buy a car online.

"I searched so many websites until I found a very good price for a Hyundai Tucson car, 2016 model, against only Dh27,000."

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The price was amazing, and Abdullah did not think twice though he knows a similar model is worth Dh40,000 to Dh55,000. "I immediately contacted the seller through his WhatsApp number (0528806412), and started a long discussion which ended up in an agreement to buy the car at Dh26,000."

The seller, who turned out to be a scammer, claimed to be a showroom owner based in Japan. "He told me he was selling his own car and sent me a copy of his driving licence, which is most likely of another victim - an Indian national named Mulavana from Kerala."

When asked about the low price of the car, he said cars are cheaper in Japan. "Then, he sent me a contract made by a shipment company named Emirates Cargo Movers, signed by him, and asked me to sign it, and send them my ID card or passport, with full details, including name, address and port."

Abdullah filled up the form as requested, and transferred Dh3,000 to the shipment company, based in Japan as instructed by the seller so that they can proceed with the transportation process.

"The shipment company sent me another email and asked me to go back again to the same exchange house and change the name of the beneficiary so that they can validate and collect the money."

This critical step was the turning point in the entire scam as the new address was in Cameroon from where many online scams have been recently reported.

Abdullah, shocked about the new development in his dream car shipment story, rushed to the exchange house, managed to cancel the transfer, and got his money Dh3,000 refunded.

"Of course, I lost the transfer charges, Dh105, but I am happy that I could save the rest of my money. I wanted to alert people about such scammers and this particular new online scam."

What is ridiculous about this is that the scammers, including the seller himself who pretends to have nothing to do with them, sent Abdullah an email again asking for something new that was not agreed upon initially.

"This time, they asked me to transfer Dh5,400 to another address in the USA against car insurance."

It really sounds hilarious to ask for such insurance charges while the car is allegedly onboard the cargo ship in the middle of the way to Ajman port, he said.

"I would like to warn everybody that those scammers are somehow smart, and have a well-designed website, good English-speaking staff, leave alone other tips that attract, mislead and defraud their victims."

The same scenario has happened with Mustafa Hussein, also an Arab resident, but this time, they managed to get Dh8,400 from him.

"Never ever make any payment unless you are dealing with a well-known company," he advised. "One should also have a proof of the same and know how to get his money back."

Hussein, who was "buying" a Toyota Prado 2015, at Dh20,000, said one should be suspicious mainly about any exotic car that seems to be perfect yet available at an unreasonable price.

"Scammers always try their best to attract their victims, by offering prizes, unbelievable gifts, bonuses, job offers, products and so on."

Copyright © 2019 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved.

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