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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

27 arrested for car sale scams as trend escalates

Police urge those who sell a car online to take extra measures to safeguard themselves from potential issues with fake or bounced cheques

New bank customers can only receive chequebooks containing 10 cheques, according to a new Central Bank directive. istockphoto.com
New bank customers can only receive chequebooks containing 10 cheques, according to a new Central Bank directive. istockphoto.com

Twenty-seven people have been arrested in connection to 74 cases of fraud after buying cars online with fake or bounced cheques, Dubai police said.

The arrests took place last year and police said this sort of car sale scam has become a trend in recent years.

Brigadier Salem Al Rumaithi, director of the criminal investigation department, said: “We are coming up with solutions to curb this phenomenon.”

The police will soon launch an awareness campaign and in the mean time urged those who sell cars through social media and on the internet to collect money at the time of sale or ask for extra guarantees.

"It’s better to go to the bank to determine if the cheque is real and see if the buyer has money in their account before selling the car,” said Colonel Omar Mohammad Bin Hammad, deputy director of the Anti-Economic Crime Department.

Police said fake buyers use the cheques to purchase cars on Thursdays as the seller will not know the status of the cheque until Sunday, by which time the buyer has registered the vehicle, sold it on and then disappeared.

Police revealed the details of the arrests during a meeting to discuss ways to curb car scam cases, with one of the solutions offered being that the transfer of vehicle ownership can only take place after the seller has confirmed that they received the money.

Punishment for cases considered to be fraud, rather than an unintentional bounced cheque, could receive a jail sentence of between one month and three years.