Driving on Indian roads is fraught with dangers. From drunk drivers who won’t think twice before ramming into your car after a peg too many, to potholes that gobble vehicles whole, there’s more than enough stress on every motorist’s plate. Car scams add a new dimension to driving in India, raising stress levels further. And you always have to be wary while on the road. A new scam, dubbed the ‘Car Spark’, is now doing the rounds of Indian roads. Today we’ll give you a low down on what the “Car Spark Scam” is all about and how you can stay clear from getting scammed. So, pay close attention.
The modus operandi of the car spark scam goes like this,
This scam operates with 3-4 scamsters. The first one is usually found standing at a place where cars usually slow down. A traffic signal or speed breaker is where you’re likely to encounter the first scamster, who will indicate to you that sparks are flying off your bonnet.
If you ignore and drive on, another scamster standing about half a kilometer away from the first one will come up with the same warning. If you are still unconvinced and choose to drive on, ter another scamster will materialize after another half kilometer to indicate that sparks are flying off your car’s bonnet.
Usually, this does the trick and most car owners succumb and stop their cars to investigate. The scamster then accosts the car owner and takes him to a mechanic, who happens to be another accomplice involved in this scam. The mechanic now proceeds to fleece the car owner by charging exorbitantly for repairs to fix this issue.
An electric short circuit is the phrase used to scare owners, who cough up 5-10 thousand rupees for the fraudulent repair, thankful that their cars aren’t on fire. Meanwhile, here is Abhishek Ratna’s first person story from the streets of Mumbai, where the “Car Spark” gang is known to operate.
Narrow Escape – Beware of this gang! PLEASE READ and SHARE as much as possible!
20th June, 2015. Mumbai – Thane:
Time was around 3:30 pm. It was raining heavily. I was on the way to Viviana Mall with my wife and 23 months old son.
As my car entered the service lane near Majhiwada junction, three people came shouting that there is spark coming out of my car! I ignored them and continued driving. A bit ahead a man on motorcycle stopped me saying the same thing again. I moved a bit ahead and stopped my car. I went out and did a quick check. Everything seemed fine. The man on motorcycle had moved on and I was convinced that my car was fine. I started driving again. Just when we were crossing Jupiter Hospital another set of 4 men all from different direction came and started shouting again, saying there is spark coming out of my car and it seems to be a case of short circuit.
They seemed genuine. I got a bit scared. I started slowing down and pulled my car to the left side. There was another boy standing there who seemed to signal the same thing to me. I stopped the car. Inspected again. All seemed fine. Two people passed by making the same comment that they saw spark and one of them warned me that I should not start the car again as it may blast due to short circuit. As my son and wife were with me I decided not to take any chance.
Meanwhile a person came and told me that there is a mechanic who is nearby and he is calling him. Within few minutes he came with a guy who was dressed like a mechanic and asked me what’s the matter. I explained to him that many people have told me that spark is coming out of my car’s engine. He immediately started checking. Soon he turned to us and started shouting- “God has saved you and your family today. There is a short circuit and the alternator and few electric switches have burnt completely. And since this was so close to the fuel line the car could have blasted any time. I should not even dare to start my car again till it gets repaired”
I got fully confused and asked him to take my car to his garage and check it thoroughly. He replied that the garage had just closed due to heavy rains and he was on his way back to home but if I could talk to his manager he can open the garage and get the spare parts to do temporary repair. So that I can drive back home.
He dialed his manager using my phone and asked me to make a request.
The manager spoke fluent English and after a bit of persuasion agreed to open the garage and get the temporary repair done. Not knowing how long this was going to take I asked my wife to take an auto and go back home. Meanwhile the mechanic left to get the spares. But somewhere the engineer in me was not convinced that there is anything wrong with my car. Against the warning they had given me I started my car, and stepped out to check the engine. There was no spark that I noted. I immediately took out my phone and googled for – ‘gang car stop spark’.