Zero down payment car dealing scammers nailed

The victims paid nothing and got new cars, but realized it could be a scam when the car dealers took their cars away and couldn't be reached.

Six suspects have been detained for allegedly devising a car dealing scam where at least seven people lost over 700,000 yuan (US$110,000), Shanghai police said on Wednesday.

Investigation started earlier this year after a man reported to police in Jiading District that he had fallen victim to the scam.

The man surnamed Sun, who lives in neighboring Jiangsu Province, said he came to Shanghai to buy a car at a dealership in Malu Town after getting in contact with a man surnamed Yang in a WeChat group who claimed to offer cars with zero down payment.

Sun decided to buy a Volkswagen Lamando which cost 165,000 yuan. Under the deal, dealer Yang paid 50,000 yuan as down payment on his behalf and made him sign a loan contract with another company to cover the rest of the cost, Sun said.

Sun received the car after 10 days, but a man surnamed Liu, who was introduced to him by Yang, immediately asked to take the car as well as his ID card and driving license, citing the need to register a car plate for him.

Sun lost contact with both Yang and Liu after a few days and started to receive loan bills the next month. Upset, he turned to police for help.

Police soon found that there was more than one victim of the scam.

The suspects were caught in April from several locations in Jiading and Qingpu districts and Pudong New Area, police said.

It turned out they had borrowed the down payment from loan sharks and sold the cars purchased on the victims’ credit for money to return the loan and make a profit, according to police.

The victims come from different parts of the country, police added.

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