Police warn of car rental scams during CNY; victims lost $25,000 from January to November 2019

Vehicles on the Pan-Island Expressway near Bedok Reservoir Road.

SINGAPORE - The police on Thursday (Jan 16) warned the public of car rental scams during the Chinese New Year period, even as victims of such scams lost at least $25,000 between January and November last year.

These car rental scams usually involve victims paying a deposit or the full amount to rent a vehicle after responding to advertisements put up by scammers.

Some scammers also use a temporary office to appear credible, said the police in a statement, noting that in the first 11 months of 2019, at least 35 reports on car rental scams were made.

After a victim makes payment, the rented vehicle is not delivered to him on the proposed day of collection, and the scammers become uncontactable.

The police advised the public to be wary of car rental advertisements that use generic photographs, adding that photographs of cars up for rent should match the make and model of the vehicle advertised.

Consumers should also rent vehicles from reputable car rental companies, and check with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) to confirm that a car rental business is registered.

Car hirers should also insist on documents with details on the vehicle rental, such as those for payment and the particulars of the parties involved, and keep a copy for their reference.

They should also ask to see the car to be rented and its log card to verify its ownership.

Members of the public who want to provide information related to such scams can call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000, or submit it online.

Those who require urgent police assistance can call 999.

Members of the public who come across car rental advertisements that seem too good to be true can call the anti-scam helpline on 1800-722-6688 to verify them.

They can also visit the anti-scam website to find out more about scams, and join the "Let's Fight Scams" campaign by signing up as an advocate to receive updates and share them with family and friends.

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