For whatever reason, carjackers in Malaysia are getting more and more daring recently. It wasn’t too long ago that a car theft case involving a perpetrator acting as a car buyer was reported, and now, a different modus operandi has come to light – car thieves posing as bank repossessors.

A case such as this went viral on social media a week ago, where a car was asked to pull over to the side of the road by men who claim to be repossessors from a bank. The men went on to claim that the vehicle owner did not pay the car instalment, and that the bank wanted to tow it away.

Things escalated quickly after. The men blocked the vehicle with their own car, and continued to pressure the victims to step out to talk things through, even threatening to break the windows if they didn’t. Luckily enough, three DBKL officers appeared at the scene to ask what was happening, and the three men quickly backtracked on their claims and left.

The victims then lodged a police report on the incident, handing over the perpetrators’ car number plate. According to the police, there had been a few reported car theft cases involving the very same number plate (which is originally registered to a motorbike).

So, while the carjacking attempt failed, apparently it had been successful a few times before, using the very same tactic. We should all be aware that such cases are happening around us, and under broad daylight too! You can read the original Facebook post embedded here, and find out what you need to know to avoid such incidents below.

Things to be aware of to avoid this happening to you

To minimise the risk of falling into such traps, there are a few vital information that you need to know.

First of all, you should be well aware if your vehicle is indeed up for repossession by the bank. A pre-repossession notice from the bank (to inform you that it intends to repossess the vehicle) should have been served on you and your guarantor (if applicable) 21 days ahead of the actual process. A second notice will be issued 14 days after that.

So if your car is due to be repossessed, the next step is to know who exactly can or are authorised to repossess a car in Malaysia?

In Malaysia, repossessions of motor vehicles are generally carried out by registered members of the Association of Hire Purchase Companies Malaysia (AHPCM). All legit repossessors have a very specific code of conduct.

They must first show the car owner an original Repossession Order by the bank, as well as his authority card that is issued by the Kuala Lumpur Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism (KPDNKK).

Authorisation cards issued by KPDNKK have a watermark, which will not be seen if printed. Also, the person named on the card must be the same as that on the Repossession Order issued by the bank. If these terms are not met, they have no right to repossess your vehicle.

Following that, they will then need to obtain the permission of the owner to enter his or her premises to carry out the repossession process. These “repo-men” are required to appear and act in a professional manner, and not use strong arm tactics to carry out the job. Car owners will also be given enough time to clear out personal belongings that are inside the vehicle in question.

Lastly, the repossessors are immediately required to make a police report after taking possession of the vehicle, and then bring it to the place indicated by the particular bank. A notice in writing informing you that the bank has taken possession of the vehicle will be sent to you shortly after.