For every Malaysian, you may have had family members and/or friends who have faced cases of road scams resulting in loss of valuables, injuries, or also near death experience.
In order to protect ourselves, it is important to be familiar with the type of scams currently operating on our roads and be aware of what you can do to escape such incidents.
Here are a list of road scams in Malaysia and tips (and tricks) that you could follow:
1. Tow Truck Scams 🚛🚗
This scam is considered to be most popular among the many road scams out there. There are many cases where these scammers would intentionally spill oil on the road, leave steel nails and/or debris on the road. As a result, unfortunate drivers who are passing the area could lose control of their car, skidding and crashing it. These scammers will usually arrive at the crash site just minutes after it happen and offer to tow your car at ridiculous fees ranging from RM1,500 – RM5,000.
Some of these scammers would also pressure you to take up their towing service, especially when your car is obstructing the way for other drivers – resulting in giving in to the pressure. They usually have another trick up their sleeve where they would secretly tow the car to their own workshop instead of the police station or the workshop of your choice. This is when they take the advantage by coercing you to pay up if you want them to ‘release’ your car.
What should you do: First of all, try not to panic. Hold your ground and tell them that you will only proceed with towing services provided by your insurance company. If possible, lock yourself in your car, record the tow truck’s number plate and lodge a police report.
2. Fake Accident Scams 🚗💥🚗
Fake accident road scams are done when you’re in the middle of reversing or parking your car. For example, the scammer will suddenly ‘appear’ in their car behind you while you’re reversing, making it seem like you crashed into them while doing so. Usually, your car would bear minimal damage while the scammer’s car will appear to have sustained heavy damages. The scammer will blame you for the damage and pressure you to follow them to the police station. In this case, he/she allegedly have secret connections with the policemen as they claim to be part of a gang and you will end up having to pay for a summon.
Unfortunately, this scam does not just stop at the police station. The scammer will try to extort high cost for ‘damage repair’ of his/her car. The workshop of the scammer’s choice is also usually involved in this scam.
What should you do: Do not give in to the pressure and tell them which police station you will be headed off to. Do not engage in the argument, and proceed to settle at the police station.
3. Emergency Brake Scams 🏍️💥🚗
Many Malaysian drivers are aware that no matter the situation, whoever hits a vehicle from the back will always be at fault. In this case, the scammers would taunt you by speeding up and then slam on their brakes multiple times until you actually hit them. It’s difficult to comprehend this trick as it could cause accidents and put drivers’ lives in danger. However, these scammers do so for the purpose of extorting money from victims for ‘repair costs’ and ‘medical costs’.
What should you do: When you notice this pattern, start slowing down and keep a distance between their vehicle and yours. If the scammer is persistently harassing you, drive to the nearest police station. Do NOT engage by speeding up and desperately try to shake them off as the situation could be more dangerous.
4. Oil Cap Scams ⛽
For this type of scam, the scammers, usually on motorbikes, will approach you during your drive as a trick. As they 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 nearest petrol station and check over there. Never stop a secluded place to do this.
5. Smoking Wheel Scams 🛠️⚙️💨
This operation will usually involve a motorcyclist and a mechanic working together. Their modus operandi usually begins with a motorcyclist riding up beside the victim’s car and signals toward the car tire. The motorcyclist will point out that your wheel is emitting smoke and suggests you to pull over to the side of the road immediately. The motorcyclist will pretend to be helpful and then calls a ‘mechanic’to inspect your wheel. Afterwards, the ‘mechanic’ will quietly disable the braking system during the inspection 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 you should do: Don’t engage with the duo and proceed to call your insurance company. Not only will you get a proper inspection but you will also get free towing services too.
We hope these tricks to avoid road scams will be helpful in your time of need. Do share them with you family & friends as it can very well help them in unfortunate situations. 🤗💖
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