Thieves posing as potential buyers to steal your car and ship to other countries
Car thefts have been occurring since they were first made in 1894 but as technology advances and car manufacturers continue looking for new ways to prevent thefts, are our cars really safe? Many cars nowadays, especially top of the range ones, have a GPS tracking system so if they are stolen they can be easily tracked down. Other security measures are cars that need pin numbers in order for the driver to operate it and also the good old fashioned alarm system.
Thieves nowadays are getting more and more sophisticated and disabling a car alarm is child’s play. They are now able to disable the GPS tracking device too so now the police have no leads to try and get it back. International crime gangs are now targeting vehicles and selling them off abroad; it seems like stealing a car, forging paperwork and then shipping it off abroad to be re-sold is cheaper that buying abroad in the first place. In some countries it is cheaper to buy a car abroad as their own valuation system is too high and often cars are valued at silly prices. For example in one country a Nissan Micra will easily sell for £10,000+ even though it is 5 years old whereas in the UK it costs less than £10,000 new.
A common country that thieves are shipping stolen cars to at the moment is Uganda. They are usually sought after by warlords, criminal gangs and rich politicians. Mostly cars that are sought after are black in colour and are top of the range but it's not unheard of to have a lesser known car shipped abroad. There are reports of buyers in Africa scouring Autotrader and other car classifieds to find the car that they want. A man not too long ago advertised his Range Rover sport worth over £50,000 and after a few days it was stolen when a test driver used it as a ploy to distract the owner whilst he drove away in it.
How are they getting away with it?
After the car is stolen, it is usually given a new identity including a new licence plate so it can't be tracked, also it needs new or forged documentation specifying things like; make, model, year of manufacture and value. In some cases they are changed so that the car seems to be worth less than it is by changing the year of manufacture and the value so that suspicion is not raised. Sometimes cars are left in a storage facility for a few months so that they have time to 'cool off', then an identical car that has been involved in car crash will have the details cloned so that they can use it on the stolen car. Even by doing all this it is not guaranteed that it will be plain sailing so officials also need to be bribed. Funnily enough the crime syndicate running this car thieving system are men of Pakistani origin who are contacted by people in Africa.
Although Africa is known to be a hotspot at the moment, other places such as Afghanistan and Libya are also involved in the importation of stolen cars - they are stolen as part of a ploy in money laundering to fun violence and purchasing weapons.
Unfortunately there is little you can do to prevent your car from being stolen as thieves will either come up to your door and demand the keys or just steal it whilst you’re distracted. The only thing you can do is hand over your keys and walk away, otherwise you might get hurt by those criminals.