“Thak Thak” or knock knock. Someone’s at your car’s window. You respond to the knock by either lowering your window and enquiring, or even perhaps opening the door to get a grip on what it’s all about. Poof, and your bag or whatever valuable was on the front passenger or rear seat is now gone. Crimes by distraction are as old as robbery itself. The latest crime doing the rounds on the larger cities of India seeks to play on curiosity, or even greed.
Here’s detailed footage on how lots of unsuspecting victims are losing large wads of cash and other valuables to an enterprising gang of criminals who make it look so easy.
So, if you hear a ‘thak-thak’ on your car’s window, what should you do? Here are some answers.
1. Do not panic. It may sound like the most simplest thing but usually a knock on the window leads to heightened heart beat, curiosity and then, panic.
2. Come what may, do not open/unlock your car’s doors.
3. If possible, pull over to the shoulder of the road and lower your window by not more than an inch to figure out what the person knocking on your window wants to say.
4. Simply drive away if the person claims that something has fallen off your car, be it wads of cash or anything, or that you’ve run over someone’s leg, or that someone has damaged some part of your car. Whatever be the case, you can always drive ahead to a secure location and check for damage, etc.
How to avoid getting into this situation in the first place?
1. Ensure that you do not leave valuables on the car’s front passenger seat or back seat.
2. Always keep valuables tucked away under the seats or in the boot. In case of hatchbacks, a parcel tray is a must, especially if you intend to keep valuable things in the boot.
3. Points 1 and 2 are applicable not only when you’re driving, but also when your car is parked.
Variations of the Thak Thak scam.
1. Thak-Thak. Sir, someone has damaged your car. Please step out and check it out. Your car will breakdown soon.
2. Thak-Thak. You have just run over my friend’s foot.
3. Your expensive mobile phone is on the dashboard and you’re stuck in stop-go traffic. The first criminal suddenly steps ahead of your car, leading you to brake hard. Such panic/emergency braking usually leads to your car stalling. As you get very angry and begin to shout at the idiot who materialized from nowhere and tried to kill himself, his accomplice opens your car’s door, steals the mobile phone and makes a run for it. You can’t do much. Remember, you’re stuck in slow moving traffic. When faced with this situation, first ensure that you lock your door immediately after your car stalls.