Recently, there has been an increase in two scams that relate to vehicles. The first being a vehicle recall scam and the second being blue light hijackings. Therefore, motorists must become aware of these scams and know how to avoid becoming victims.
Vehicle Recall Scam
The Insurance Crime Bureau has noted an increase in vehicle recall scam alerts, and vehicle owners need to become more vigilant. The criminals in the vehicle recall scam pose as officials representing the car’s tracking company or manufacturer. The initial contact that the criminals make is usually made telephonically. The criminals involved in the scam will inform the vehicle owners that their vehicle is part of a batch that is being recalled for malfunctioning or mechanical issues. The vehicle owners are told that the company will arrange to have their vehicles fetched by a flatbed or tow truck with the promise that they will replace or repair the vehicle. Days after the criminals collect the vehicle, the vehicle owner will contact the dealership looking for an update when they discover that their vehicle has been stolen. The people who buy into this scam will end up losing a lot of money. Their insurance company might not cover the vehicle owners who fall for this scam, so they must follow the necessary precautions to ensure that their vehicle is well-protected.
For vehicle owners to avoid becoming a victim of the vehicle recall scam then they can follow the tips offered below:
- Vehicle owners should be cautious about the personal information they share telephonically or on social media, as criminals will use it to create a profile of the people they want to target.
- Whenever you interact with strangers, you should be vigilant and have some scepticism when talking to them. If anyone claims to be an employee of any company, it is advised that you make some efforts to verify their claim about who they are and the company they claim to represent.
- Before making a decision, check with the dealership or the manufacturer to ensure that the recall is legitimate.
- Your vehicle manufacturer will rarely ever need to collect your vehicle using a tow truck as they will usually expect you to bring the car directly to them.
- If you receive any suspicious calls from people claiming to work for the dealership or manufacturer, you should report this to the authorities.
Bluelight hijacking refers to a criminal tactic where criminals impersonate police officers and kidnap and rob their unsuspecting drivers to a destination. Most of these hijacking cases have been reported on the R59, so motorists need to be vigilant when using this highway. The issue with this scam is that it could also occur anywhere, so to remain safe, you need to plan adequately. When you go out, ensure that you prepare for your trip and are familiar with the route you want to use. When using your cellphone to guide you, it is essential that you also have the charger in the car. Anything can go wrong on the road. If your GPS lets you down and you end up using an unsafe route, then you must always have a plan B.
Motorists need to be more vigilant when travelling in the evening as that is the most dangerous time, so if you end up driving in the night, you must also use your rear-view mirror when driving to check your surroundings. Motorists should also be careful when they have to slow down at the robot when driving in the evening. If the driver finds themselves in a situation that they are pulled over, they should immediately inform someone. They can inform their friends by sending them a pin drop of their location.
Ideally, when you are asked to pull over, you should put on your indicators to show that you want to pull over. You should also slow down a bit, ensure that your lights are on bright and your hazards are on so that you can gain the attention of passers-by, and, if possible, drive to the closest well-lit area. If you are suspicious, you should drive to a garage with cameras and call 10111 en route to verify the vehicle’s registration number to check that it belongs to SAPS.
If a motorist does find themselves in a hijacking situation, then they can follow the tips offered below:
- Decide what matters to you most, your life or your vehicle, as that decision will determine how you deal with the situation.
- Follow the hijacker’s instructions and do your best to avoid eye contact.
- Use both of your hands to indicate that you want to obey them by raising them at chest level. Your fingers should also be open so that the hijackers can see that you do not have anything in your hands.
- When moving, you should avoid making any unannounced movements that might startle the hijackers.
- If the hijackers order you to get out of your vehicle, you should start by removing your seatbelt. You should indicate that you would like to undo your seatbelt. Failing to do so can be disastrous as the loud noise that it makes might sound like a gunshot.
- Inform the hijackers that you want to pull up the handbrake and use your hands to open the door without making jerking movements.
- In the situation, you should take in all the information about the hijacker’s vehicle and any details that you can remember that stand out, such as scars and tattoos.
- Share this information with the authorities as it will be crucial in helping them put the perpetrators behind bars.
Vehicle owners should always be alert whether when on the road or with their information. They must make decisions that won’t put their lives in danger.