4 Common Road Scams in Malaysia and Ways to Avoid Them
Everyone is considered a potential victim of scams. Even the most careful drivers can fall prey to scammers who often use clever tricks to take advantage of unsuspecting drivers. Therefore, it is important to be familiar with the common types of scams that operate on our roads and to be aware of what you can do to avoid becoming a victim of such incidents. Here are four common road scams in Malaysia and ways to avoid them:
Tow Truck Scam
The scam often involves tow truck drivers arriving on the scene of an accident or breakdown and offering to tow the vehicle to a repair shop or other location at a ridiculous price, taking advantage of the stressful situation and the driver's desire to quickly get their car off the road. In a situation where you have given consent for them to tow your car, they might tow your car to their own workshop instead of the police station or the workshop of your choice. This is when they take the advantage by demanding an inflated fee from you to ‘release’ your car.
What should you do: Stay calm and hold your ground by telling them that you will only proceed with towing services provided by your insurance company. Record the tow truck’s number plate and lodge a police report if necessary.
Fake Road Accident Scam
This scam typically involves one or more individuals intentionally causing a minor collision with your vehicle, this can happen while you’re driving, reversing or parking your car. Usually, your car would bear minimal damage while the scammer’s car will appear to have sustained heavy damages. Once the accident has occurred, the scammers will typically demand payment for damages, which are often exaggerated. The scammers may use intimidation tactics or threaten to involve the police or lawyers in order to pressure you into paying.
What should you do: Stay calm and do not hand over any money or personal information to the scammers. Take note of the scammers' appearance, vehicle make and model, and car plate number. Do not engage in an argument and proceed to settle it at the police station. You may also contact your agent or insurance company to report the incident. They may be able to offer advice or assistance in dealing with the scammers and any fraudulent claims.
Last but not least, always be alert of the surrounding while reversing, driving or parking your car. The best way you can do is to invest in a front and rear dashboard camera for your car. You can use the recording as evidence of what actually happened.
Oil Cap Scam
Scammers will usually ride up next to you, they will point and indicate that your fuel cap is open. As you pull over to check your fuel cap, they will then attempt to rob you even in broad daylight.
What should you do: When it is safe, slow down and quickly glance at your side mirror to check your fuel cap. If you can’t do so, drive to the nearest petrol station and check over there. Besides, most modern cars will signal if the fuel cap is opened. So, if your car has such feature, be cautious of people trying to distract you.
Smoking Wheel Scam
This type of scam usually begins with a motorcyclist riding up next to your car, informing you that your wheel is emitting smoke and suggests that you pull over to the side of the road immediately. The motorcyclist will pretend to be helpful and then offers to calls a ‘mechanic’ to inspect your wheel. During the inspection, the ‘mechanic’ will quietly disable the braking system as he tries to ‘find the cause of’ the ‘smoke’. The ‘mechanic’ will try to convince you of the malfunctioned brakes by testing it in front of you. He will then proceed to offer help for a spare part and present you with a ridiculous fee when everything is done.
What should you do: Refrain from interacting with the perpetrators and instead, contact your insurance provider. This approach not only ensures a thorough inspection but also includes free towing services.
Published May, 2023
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