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Beware of frauds forcing car drivers to buy ‘compulsory’ radium reflective tape

Here is a new scam where scamsters try to fool car drivers into buying radium reflective tape. The video has been uploaded by Kenden Tshering on the HV Kumar’s group on Facebook.

In the video, we can see that the car is stopped and the guy says to the driver that the car is missing the radium reflector strips. He further adds that they will install the reflector strips so that there is less chance of an accident. Then we can hear the guy saying that it is a government order to install the reflector strips. To which the driver replies that they live in a local area and don’t use the car for travelling outside. The scamsters were trying to sell radium sticker for Rs. 100 claiming that there is a new mandatory rule. They even had a photocopied letter which the driver could not take an image of because the fraud guy did not allow him.

We can also see a Chevrolet Tavera parked on the side on which a huge poster is stuck on which has some warnings and precautions. The vehicle operated by the scamsters had its registration plates conveniently hidden.  Such frauds are not new. The Motor Vehicle law says that it is mandatory for commercial vehicles to have a reflective strip because they usually carry heavy loads and other people should be aware of their presence while driving on a dark road.

Another fraud that is common in the pre-owned car market is tampering with the odometers to reduce the mileage of the car. Reducing the kilometres on the odometer increases the resale value of the car. Nowadays, cars have started to come with digital instrument clusters which are harder to tamper with. On the other side tampering with analogue units is fairly easy.

Using some specialized tools the mechanics can turn back the digits as much as they want. Where a vehicle would have crosses 1.2 lakh kilometres the mechanic can just make it to 80,000 kilometres which would increase the value of the vehicle significantly. Even the digital odometers can be tampered with using specialized software and laptop. This is usually done in the “meter repair shops” who will reset the instrument cluster by flashing the chipset.

How to look for tampering?

You cannot confirm the tampering always. If it is an analogue odometer, there is a chance that the digits are not properly aligned and they might not click places perfectly. In digital odometers, it is more difficult to spot tampering. This is because everything is running on complex electronics so there is no physical sign that the odometer was tempered. Sometimes mechanics re-solder the chipset to reverse the reading. So, there is a small chance that an ill-fitted instrument cluster like moisture, screw marks on the border, panel gaps might mean that the meter has tampered. Another sign that you can look for is the condition of the interior, the rattles and the vibrations that you feel while driving the car. If it rattles a lot and the interior feels worn out, but the odometer reading is very low, then there is a high chance that the odometer has been tampered with.