South African Rental Scam Exposed

A businessman has exposed a rental vehicles scam in South Africa that cost several car owners money and left some of them potentially destitute, according to Independent Online.

The suspect was arrested at the house of the victim who exposed the scam, Thomas van der Westhuizen.

Van der Westhuizen said the con artist would tell a prospective buyer that he was involved in the sale of repossessed vehicles.

After Van der Westhuizen paid for the cars, he asked for the licensing, owners' and registration forms, but the suspect said it would take up to three months to get them from the banks. Van der Westhuizen became worried when after four months he still had not received the vehicle ownership documents.

Van der Westhuizen realized he had been conned when he went to a Mercedes-Benz dealership to establish the origins of the car he had bought. But he discovered that the car, along with five others he had bought from the alleged con artist, were owned by the Budget in South Africa.

Van der Westhuizen discovered that he was just one of many of the suspect's victims. He said the suspect allegedly used friends' credit cards to rent cars, and he then sold the cars to unsuspecting people. Van der Westhuizen found out that the account he deposited money into belonged to the suspect's wife.

Asked if he knew others who had been conned, another victim said at least three of his friends had fallen for the scam.

Several of the company's vehicles had been recovered, including a BMW, Mercedes-Benz, a VW Polo, and a Suzuki.

A police spokesman confirmed that a case of fraud had been opened and that a suspect had been arrested.

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