Police issue warning for online car scam

A police operation investigating an online car scam which has seen residents lose thousands of dollars has located victims across Victoria, including locally.

Operation Approbate was established by the Boroondara Crime Investigation Unit to investigate the scam which has seen eight people from across Victoria purchase a second hand car online that does not exist.

To date, the victims have been located in places including Castlemaine, Gippsland, Knox, Casey and Keilor Downs.

According to Victoria Police, when the interested buyer contacts the car seller, they claim to be a member of the armed forces based in Tasmania or somewhere similar, stating they are about to be moved offshore and need to quickly sell their vehicle.

The seller claims the armed forces will transport the vehicle anywhere in Australia, free of charge.

Goldfields Criminal Investigation Unit Detective Senior Constable Rob Binks is investigating the Castlemaine case and said it is a “convincing” scam.

“The scammer will pretend to be from the Australian Airforce, and that’s where they’ll go on a spiel about why the car is cheap and needs to be sold quickly because they’re getting redeployed,” he said.

“It’s quite convincing.”

Det Sen Con Binks said if the price of a vehicle is too good to be true, it probably is.

“My advice would be if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Try and inspect the car in person before handing over any money,” he said.

Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of this online scam or has any further information in relation to the matter is urged to contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, report online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au, or visit www.scamwatch.gov.au.

For more on this story see Page 7 of The Advertiser, Friday, May 22

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