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PNP-HPG warns public to be wary of ‘technical carnapping’

PNP HPGTHE Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) yesterday reminded anew the public to be wary of emerging ‘technical carnapping’ in the country in which glib-tongued suspects use their wit to steal a motor vehicle from its registered owner without brandishing guns or knives to intimidate their victims.

According to PNP-HPG director, Brigadier General Alexander C. Tagum, today’s ‘technical car thieves’ are using five different ways to swindle their targets and acquire precious motor vehicles specifically those under bank financing and later reselling them to either witting or unwitting buyers thru the use of fraudulent Land Transportation Office registration papers.

In contrast to the traditional methods of stealing an unattended motor vehicle or forcibly taking them from their owners or drivers thru gun or knife-point, today’s ‘technical car thieves’ are using their wits and glib tongues to steal vehicles,” said the official in a report to PNP chief, General Debold M. Sinas.

He referred to the modern car theft schemes known as ‘Rent-Tangay,’ ‘Assume-Balance Scam alias known as Pasalo-Benta,’ Pasalo-Benta-Bawi, ‘Labas Casa Through Loan Accommodation otherwise known as ‘Labas-Casa-Talon’ and ‘Labas-Casa-Talon Using Fictitious Names.’

Tagum called on the public to be wary of these carnapping schemes and to immediately call the attention of the PNP-HPG or the nearest police station once they come across any person using the following trick.

He said that under the ‘Rent-Tangay or Rent-Tangay-Sangla’ scheme,’ the suspect merely poses as a client of a car-for-rent company. Once he acquires the motor vehicle, the suspect will immediately dispose of the vehicle by pawning it or selling it to unsuspecting buyers thru the use of fake documents.

Under the ‘Assume-Balance Scam or the ‘Pasalo-Benta’ Scheme,’ the car thief poses as a buyer of an encumbered motor vehicle and will promise his target that he/she will continue paying for the car or SUV’s monthly amortization. While the down payment and the monthly amortizations already paid are usually reimbursed to the vehicle owner to gain his/her trust and confidence, the suspect really has no intention of paying the remaining amortizations and will dispose of the vehicle to gain profit.

Under the ‘Pasalo-Benta-Bawi’ scheme, the suspect will secretly install a Global Positioning Satellite or GPS tracker system in his motor vehicle which he will sell to another person thru the above-named scheme.

In most cases, these vehicles are being kept in huge parking lots of posh casinos in Metro Manila where they are being offered for sale to moneyed players.

Once a target bites his offer, the suspect will then report to the police that he is a victim of an ‘Assume-Balance Scam’ and file a case against the unsuspecting buyer. With the help of the GPS tracker, the suspect will be able to reclaim the vehicle from the buyer.

In the ‘Labas-Casa-Talon’ scheme, members of the syndicate usually convinces a target, typically the spouse of an Overseas Filipino Worker or anyone who can pass bank credit investigations to have his/her name used for a car loan application.

The victim is then given some promises by the glib-tongued suspects who will also give him/her P30,000 to as much as P75,000 in cash depending on the type of the motor vehicle being applied for loan.

Once the vehicle is released under the name of the victim, the suspects will convince the target to turn the vehicle into a hotel or company shuttle-for-rent with the promise that it will be returned to him once the loan is fully paid.

However, the truth is that the suspects have really no intention to return the motor vehicle to their victim since they will either pawn or sell it to buyers using forged LTO documents.

Lastly, under the ‘Labas-Casa-Talon Scheme, members of the syndicate convinces a legitimate company’s human resource division personnel to serve as their contact for a credit investigator’s (CI) call and affirm that a certain car loan applicant is an employee.

In return, that contact is promised to receive anywhere from P15,000 to P30,000 depending on the type of the motor vehicle, with the promise that the ‘commission’ will be given once the vehicle is released.

After securing the contact’s assistance, the syndicate will make a fake ID for one of its con-artists, usually using a daily-rental condo unit’s address. During the Credit Investigator’s scheduled visit, the con-artist will pose as that condo unit’s owner (which is only being rented for that day) and show fake proof of billing.

The contact then receives the CI’s call and confirms the con-artist’s employed status.

All other credit investigation phases are accomplished through phone calls with the required documents scanned and submitted online via Viber or Facebook Messenger. The physical copies of the documents, all faked, will be presented during the motor vehicle’s actual release. By then, both the bank and car dealer have been swindled by a bogus car loan applicant.

Since 2010, the PNP-HPG has detected the presence of syndicates known for ‘pawning or selling’ motor vehicles to unsuspecting persons for a price way beyond their normal sale value.

Operations launched by the PNP-HPG in the past had resulted in the recovery of hundreds of SUVs and cars which were acquired thru the same fraudulent scheme.

Last year, the PNP-HPG Special Operations Division-Task Force Limbas headed by Lieutenant Colonel Joel Manuel Ana smashed a group of organized car thieves in Metro Manila involved in different modus operandi.

The public must know that the real intention of the syndicate is to get the SUV, wagon and car and dispose it for profit. They must realize that the car rental agreement or the ‘Assume Balance’ scheme is just a part of the syndicate’s ploy to get the vehicle,” Ana said.