• Belinda Smith

Short term info

We’d been made aware of a scam to steal vehicles and we’d like to share some important information on how it works:

  1. A person posing as an employee of a vehicle manufacturer or dealership (referred to as the scammer) calls the vehicle owner to say that there is a recall and that it is not safe to drive their vehicle. The scammer is often well-spoken, very persuasive and can verify the vehicle owner’s details including, for example, when and where the vehicle was bought.

  2. The scammer goes on to say that the vehicle manufacturer/dealership will not take any responsibility if the vehicle is driven further and malfunctions.

  3. The vehicle owner is advised that a towing service will be arranged to collect the vehicle and arrangements are made and agreed with the vehicle owner. The vehicle owner is provided with the name of the towing service and advised that the repaired vehicle will be returned within 24 hours.

  4. The scammer arranges with the towing service to collect the vehicle. In the meantime, the vehicle owner is advised that the repairs are taking longer than expected and is asked to confirm if the vehicle is fitted with a tracking device. If a tracking device is fitted, the vehicle owner is led to believe that it will be temporarily disconnected while the repair is taken place.

  5. The vehicle is moved to its end destination (often across the border) by which time the vehicle owner realises that the vehicle has been stolen.

Several people have fallen victim to this scam so please be careful and report any suspicious behaviour to your nearest police station.

Hijacking time of day and day of the week and theft

The latest data also indicates that there has been a shift in the trend regarding day of week and time of day when hijacking is reported. Hijacking is now prevalent throughout the week, from Tuesday to Saturday, with only slightly less activity on Sundays and Mondays.

Hijackings are also reported to Tracker throughout the day from 11h00 to midnight. Meanwhile, theft is mainly reported around the weekend, and during lunchtime hours.

“Hostage-taking is still a daily occurrence and remains a huge concern. Further crime trends noted by Tracker include a noticeable increase in vehicles being targeted for their loads, particularly food items and fast-moving consumable goods.

“Clients are also being robbed of their valuables and in some instance’s large amounts of cash,” it said.

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