Car thieves targetting rental cars, including affordable modelsInsights
When it comes to car thieves or crime syndicates, targetting rental cars seems to be the easiest way to carry out their dastardly deeds.
Providing fake details to rent cars of any shapes, sizes, and prices and driving them away before removing any GPS tracker to basically go off-grid is a much more 'foolproof' plan compared to actually attempting to break into cars and risk being caught by the authorities or members of the public.
And what's stopping them? By the time the owners of the cars they've rented realize that something is off (usually when they don't return the car in time of can't be contacted), these car thieves are already a few days ahead - enough time to do what they need to do to mask their tracks and resell the stolen cars on the black market both foreign and domestic.
Endless list of victims big and small cars
While this modus operandi may have been around for quite some time targetting luxurious cars, it seems that we are also seeing some of the more affordable car models falling victim to these crimes these past few years.
What started out with rental car companies is also now plaguing individual owners who register their personal cars on several platforms and apps to rent out their cars to complete and total strangers. There was even a report of a Perodua Axia being stolen by the renter who made a few mods to cover up his/her tracks before selling it off to an individual in a different state.
Why is this still a thing?
For the criminals, the risks seem to be relatively low (if you're not caught, that is). As to the question of why this issue is still a huge problem here in Malaysia, the answer is simple - supply and demand.
All of these stolen cars labelled as 'piang', 'JT' or 'Jalan Terus', 'lari bank', and more, the risks of operating or driving one seem to outweigh the super low prices these car thieves or syndicates are offering.
Yes, a poor mindset to have but the supply and demand are coming from increased desperation and these criminals are just taking advantage of the situation at hand. Some of these lowlifes even offer 'added benefits' like data interchange, plate swaps, new grants, and more to avoid the cars being detected or repossessed by the authorities.
It's just that for some folks, the offer of buying a good car with an unbelievable price tag despite carrying these law-breaking 'statuses' and paired with a low risk of detection, well, it's a very hard offer for some people to pass. 'Desperate time calls for desperate measures', as the saying goes.
Is the law doing anything about it?
*Image credit: Kosmo
For most cases, yes, the law will take action against any reports of stolen vehicles. Based on a report posted by The Star, it seems that some companies are faced with more difficult situations when it comes to dealing with their rental cars getting stolen.
Looking at the content of that said article, the process of actually reporting the car/cars being stolen may need a few more steps as they are instructed to dispute the matter first with the 'renters' for 'breach of contract' when it comes to renting the cars.
Right now, you can easily search for any of these stolen cars being advertised freely online and even blatantly on social media platforms labelled as 'piang', 'JT' or 'Jalan Terus', 'lari bank', and more'. And yes, people do buy them, despite all the risks involved in having one in your possession.
What can we do about this?
Like most things, we can stop the supply if we can deal with the demand. No demand = no supply. The government and authorities should be the ones at the frontlines handling this ongoing 'epidemic'.
Despite these stolen cars being sold at ridiculous prices, it's just not worth the risk of paying the fine or possibly spending time in jail and possibly derailing the rest of your life due to this action. Best advice? Spend just a bit more and get some legit used cars like on Carlist.my Qualified.
Like the great Russell Peters once said, "Be a man! Do the right thing!"