Analysis

Social media car scammers improving tactics everyday

By Kudzai Mutisi

THOUSANDS of Zimbabweans have safely sold their cars or trucks using classified sites and social media platforms like Facebook, whatsapp, etc.

Zimbabwean robbers have now moved to these social media platforms to offer deals on vehicles but requests the buyers to pay up with cash in USD. Then, when they do turn up, the “sellers” instead rob the interested buyers of their hard earned cash.

Stories like these are not hard to find, and may help encourage sellers and buyers to learn what online safety measures are in place and which actions to take when car dealing online.

Zimbabwe’s economic hardships and the availability of internet connection has forced scammers to flood social media platforms and online sale websites offering deals that are just too good to be true.

In a vehicle scam, scammers post fake online listings offering to sell in-demand cars at well below market value to lure potential buyers looking for second hand vehicles and rob their victims when they come to pay for their vehicles.

When you call, criminals say the “cheap” prices were because of slight damage or they want a quick sale because of a family illness, divorce, or a family business in debt.

Social media platforms have made it simple and seamless to visit and market our products and services and all of us are using these platforms to buy and sell our goods.

A Kadoma couple was battered when they went to pay and collect a Mercedes Benz they had seen on Facebook. The pair had driven 142km from Kadoma to Harare to collect their dream car unaware of the new online car-selling scam.

Before the couple travelled to Harare, from Kadoma, the couple was in regular contact with the seller, checked the car’s documentation. However, the couple was ambushed as they arrived at the given address.

Another different robbery method

Some Zimbabweans have lost cash after selling their motor vehicle, criminals have identified that, Zimbabweans are now using social medial as a means of advertising. Be it on Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc these have become a main choices of ads.

Robbers have now identified these as the easy way to trail their targets. The criminals will call the seller everyday asking if the car or truck is still available.

They will even visit the site where the vehicle is for sale to identify if its a home or business. The day that the robber calls and you advise him that the car has been sold, that is the day they will pounce and rob the seller.

Robbers in Zimbabwe are aware that when an ordinary person sells his/her pricy good they know you are paid in hard currency and will NEVER bank the money, but will have it at their homes. Zimbabweans should not attempt to buy or sell items at private residences or remote locations.

Exchange of cash or goods should be conducted on camera or in areas where there are CCTV. Above that our police force should have a designated where cash transactions are executed and the place must have video surveillance cameras.

STAY SAFE IF YOU ARE SELLING OR BUYING ONLINE AND OFFLINE, CRIMINALS ARE WATCHING YOU.

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