According to KTRK, the scammers’ work to flag drivers down on the road under the guise of needing to tell them something is wrong with their tire, allegedly causing it to wobble.
After they convince them to pull over, they examines the car, calming to be a mechanic with the parts needed to fix the problem, and, once its ‘fixed’, the scammer asks to be paid for the part.
One Houstonian recounted his experience in an interview:
“He told me to get in the car and step on the brake, he was being all dramatic telling me there is something wrong,” Houston resident Trung Vo said in an interview with KTRK.
Vo said further he believes he fell victims to a scam, since filing a police report after a man with three kids in the car flagged him down on the Southwest Freeway.
“I believed him because he had his kids…two little girls and a boy,” Vo said, but he became suspicious after giving the man, who introduced himself as Angel, $400 for a part he never actually saw him replace. “I feel like I got played.”
Vo also said part of what convinced him to pull over in the first place came from how emphatic the man presented himself noting the urgency of the supposed problem.
Police say this is not the only such case, with variations reported nationwide.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the scammers usually work in groups, targeting distract drivers while they “fix” a nonexistent problem, then demanding payment.
Vo fortunately provided dash camera footage he submitted with a police report.
Drivers are advised to take their car to a licensed mechanic if they’re told about a problem.
Anyone who believes they fell victim to this scam can contact HPD’s Major Offenders Division at 713-308-3100.