Dialdirect Insurance has urged South African vehicle owners to be vigilant of a new car theft scam.
Anton Koen from No Jack Vehicle Tracking told Wheels24 that this was the second case of its kind in the area, while reports have said that it was the third Urus stolen in two days in the East Rand.
The Lamborghini Urus starts at R3.4 million for the base model.
How the scam works
Head of Dialdirect Insurance Maanda Tshifularo explained how the scam works.
“Criminals execute a recall scam by contacting unsuspecting vehicle owners and posing as officials representing a car manufacturer – convincing the owners that their vehicle is part of a batch being recalled due to serious malfunctions,” Tshifularo said.
“With the promise of a repaired or replacement vehicle, many people buy into this scam and end up losing tens, or even hundreds of thousands of rand.”
The Insurance Crime Bureau (ICB) previously issued an alert for the scam following a significant increase in cases.
CEO of the ICB Garth de Klerk said that the scammers call the victim and pretend to be officials from the car manufacturer, informing the vehicle owner that their car has to be recalled.
“This is often followed up with a spoof e-mail, with criminals going to great lengths to make their communication seem official. They convince vehicle owners that they shouldn’t drive their vehicle under any circumstances and make arrangements to collect it – most often using a tow truck,” De Klerk said.
The owner would typically then contact the dealership days later for an update, only to learn that the car has been stolen.
Advice to car owners
The ICB said that millions have been lost through this scam and that it is likely being run by a single or multiple syndicates. The stolen vehicle registrations are cloned and the cars are resold locally or taken across the border to be sold elsewhere.
According to De Klerk, it’s very easy for these criminals to acquire the necessary profiling details of a targeted individual and their vehicle, as people often share too much information about this on social media and via phone calls – primarily through fake “market research calls”.
Dialdirect and the ICB offered these tips to avoid becoming a victim:
- Limit the amount of personal information you share on social media and telephonically. Criminals use this to build a detailed profile of their victims.
- Be vigilant and maintain a healthy sense of scepticism when talking to strangers. Make every effort to verify that they are indeed who they say they are, and that they are an employee of the company they claim to represent.
- Check with the manufacturer and/or dealership directly to verify that the recall is legitimate. Don’t trust contact details provided by the person who called you.
- Report any suspicious calls to the authorities, the manufacturer and/or the dealership.
— 🇿🇦TEAM☠TRIO💣TASK FORCE ☠📡🚨 (@MCVENTA) February 13, 2020