Tracking company warns of car theft syndicate scam

Beware of tracking device scams because criminals are using them to steal vehicles.
Beware of tracking device scams because criminals are using them to steal vehicles.
Image: Teerachat Aebwanawong / 123RF

The vehicle tracking company Tracker has issued an alert about a recent car theft syndicate scam happening across SA.

The company said clients were being contacted by scammers pretending to work for Tracker and other car tracking companies. The scammers advise clients there is something wrong with their tracking device and claim they need to repair or replace the device.

“Once on site, the perpetrators claim they need to test the device by taking the car for a test drive, or they say they can’t finalise the repairs on-site and need to take the vehicle to the fitment centre,” said Tracker.

Tracker said clients could avoid being scammed by asking the caller to take them through the Tracker security verification questions associated with their account to verify the legitimacy of the call. If they are unable to do so, advise them you will contact someone at Tracker to verify their claim.

According to police crime statistics for 2019/20, cases of carjacking have seen the biggest increase year-on-year.

The people reported 18,162 cases over the period, which equates to 50 cars being stolen in the country every day.

Police minister Bheki Cele said carjacking and truck hijacking, during the lockdown, recorded an increase of 13.3% and 1.7% respectively.

AI-driven car insurance provider Naked, which overlays the eNatis database of registered vehicles (cars and motorcycles) on crime statistics, said hijackings increased steeply in the Western Cape (20%), Gauteng (16%), and KwaZulu-Natal (10%). 

“Looking at the crime statistics by province, area, vehicle make and time of day can help you to make appropriate decisions to mitigate the risks of being a victim of a carjacking or vehicle theft. With the economy slowly opening up and criminal activity inevitably increasing, drivers should remain vigilant,” said the car insurance provider.

How to avoid falling victim to the scam:

  • A Tracker technician will never need to nor should they ask to test drive your vehicle.
  • Always check the e-mail address the request is sent from — this is often an immediate give away as the criminals would not be using a address.
  • You can confirm the validity of an appointment by contacting Tracker's call centre on 0860 60 50 40.
  • Be vigilant at all times and report any suspicious behaviour to the police.

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