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Pretoria - Police have issued a warning to everyone interested in buying second-hand vehicles to be vigilant of impostor agents, following a spate of scams in recent weeks.
Five people across the city have been conned by fake agents. According to police spokeswoman Captain Colette Weilbach, they are targeting dealerships in Sinoville, Villeria and central Pretoria.
“When a potential buyer wants to buy a second-hand car, they will be approached by a very ‘helpful agent’. The ‘agent’ offers to assist the potential buyer in getting a better price for the vehicle on display. The ‘agent’ then pretends to negotiate with the car dealership.”
According to Weilbach, the client will then make a payment into a given account, only for the client to find that he has been duped when he arrives with the proof of payment to collect the newly purchased vehicle.
“The buyer will make the shocking discovery at the car dealership that he or she was scammed and that the so-called ‘agent’ is not known to the dealer and did not negotiate for a better price.”
She urged potential buyers to be vigilant and not fall victim to such scams. “It is important to communicate with the dealership to ensure that all transactions are legal before any exchange of money takes place.”
The manager of a car dealership in Sefako Makgatho spoke to the Pretoria News on condition of anonymity.
“Personally we have not been hit with this scam, but we are aware of it. I just don’t understand how naive people can be. Buying a car means spending a lot of money, so how can people not be cautious?”
He said, even if the purchase was a cash deal, a driver’s licence and ID documents were needed for registration purposes.