Insurance companies in Johannesburg are investigating a trend whereby vehicles are being targeted by hijackers through car sales advertisements.

Insurance companies in Johannesburg are investigating a trend whereby vehicles are being targeted by hijackers through car sales advertisements.

The South African Insurance Association said a vehicle would be advertised in a publication like Autotrader or Junkmail. Seven vehicles have been stolen in this manner, six Golf GTI and TDI models and one Mercedes-Benz.

It had earlier been reported that the insurance industry was looking into whether there was a trend of Golf models being hijacked, but SAIA executive Caroline de Silva said that though they are concerned that Golfs had been taken they did not think it was a trend. “It has not been particular to any model,” she said.

“The purported buyer contacts the seller via cellphone and arranges a meeting at either the seller’s workplace or public place. Usually, the cellphone being used by the alleged buyers is a 084 Cell C pay as you go number. There is no particular reason why Cell C numbers are being used, but this is the trend we have picked up,” said the insurance association.

“The purported buyer is usually accompanied by a man who claims to be a mechanic and, in some instances, they are also accompanied by a female. These purported buyers first walk around the vehicle, and the seller, to determine the vehicle is not damaged, but in fact they are checking if the seller has a firearm. They then say they want to go for a test drive.

“The purported buyer will then drive the vehicle with the alleged mechanic next to him. The seller will sit in the back seat. They will produce a firearm and instruct the seller to get out of the vehicle and lie on the ground with his face down. They will also tell the seller that no harm will come to him if he co-operates. In certain cases they have offered to phone either family of friends to come and collect the seller. They leave with the vehicle and the cellphone number they used is discarded shortly afterwards.”

Original article from Car