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 Scammers Alert: Fake Rent-to-Buy Car Scheme Hits Zimbabwe

 Scammers Alert: Fake Rent-to-Buy Car Scheme Hits Zimbabwe

In a disheartening turn of events, Zimbabwe has been rocked by a carefully orchestrated fake rent-to-buy vehicle scheme, leaving unsuspecting individuals vulnerable to scammers. Over the past few months, a string of incidents has unfolded, casting a shadow of deceit over those eager to own personal cars.

The perpetrators of this scam remain at large, believed to be operating from locations such as Beitbridge, Musina, or Harare. They employ a sophisticated tactic, using different mobile phone numbers to execute their fraudulent plans and prey on individuals who dream of owning a vehicle.

The modus operandi of these scammers involves luring victims with the promise of owning a car without a deposit. Instead, they request payment for administration fees and fuel, typically ranging from US$250 to US$300. However, for larger vehicles like trucks or minibusses, the charges can escalate due to higher administrative costs and fuel requirements.

Their approach is cunningly crafted, targeting potential buyers through social media platforms such as WhatsApp groups, Facebook, and other informal channels. An investigation conducted by NewsDay revealed the intricacy with which these scammers operate, presenting an illusion of legitimacy to unsuspecting victims.

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Once the payment is made via mobile money transfer, the scammers vanish into thin air. Contact becomes impossible, leaving dozens of individuals duped and financially harmed. Shockingly, even individuals from as far away as Australia have fallen prey to this scheme, hoping to purchase cars for their loved ones in Zimbabwe.

One of the deceptive advertisements circulating on social media reads, “SBT MOTORS ZIMBABWE car dealership Rent to Buy A Car.” It promises a seemingly attractive deal of acquiring a car on credit with no deposit, starting payments after 30 days, and utilizing the vehicle for 18 months through installments.

The devastating impact of this scam serves as a stark warning to remain vigilant and cautious when engaging in financial transactions, especially through informal channels. Authorities are urged to intensify efforts to apprehend these fraudsters and put an end to their malicious activities, restoring trust and security within the community.

“Rent to buy is for everyone who is willing to drive a car of his/her choice and make money with it. We also give discounts to all those who do cash and drive (paying cash).

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“After your details and particulars have been approved and you are satisfied with the vehicle you want to rent you have to pay administration fee and transportation of US$310.

“You will pay for the vehicle monthly instalments for 18 months while using the vehicle. You pay after 30 days, 3 days before or 3 days after.”

The advert added: “As the vehicle still belongs to SBT Motors, we process the number plates for, we are responsible for tax and insurance (mutero tisu tinobhadhara).

“If you fail to pay for 3 months (90 days) the vehicle will be retrieved from you. Admin fee and transportation free to be paid before you get your vehicle, which is to be deposited/Zipit to our FBC account using the prevailing rate.”

Among the list of scammers are names like Valiant Motors and Beitbridge Car Rentals and Sales. Their ads appear credible at first glance, but discerning readers can spot multiple errors that reputable businesses wouldn’t make.

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According to an investigator, these scammers might be leveraging advanced mobile applications to target potential victims.

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