In the press

Car owners beware! It is in fact possible to steal your car without breaking into it. Sounds complicated? Far-fetched? Not in the slightest.


The following is a true story: in the middle of the night, Mr. X heard someone knocking at his door. He opened it to find a police officer and representatives of the Execution Office. The police officer told Mr. X that his car, an expensive 4 x 4, no longer belonged to him, and that the ownership of the car had been transferred into someone else's name a few months previously, without the knowledge of Mr. X, the lawful owner of the car. As if that were not enough, the police officer told Mr. X that this person had pledged his car to the bank, and at present, the bank had issued an order for the seizure of the car, for the purpose of the payment of this person's debt. All of Mr. X's pleas, that he did not even know this person and that he had never sold his car to another, were to no avail. The car was seized and taken away, that very same night, from Mr. X, and transferred to a warehouse, as part of the pledge realization proceedings. The car waited there, to be sold, for the purpose of the repayment of this person's debt to the bank. Mr. X was forced to apply to the court, with a claim, in order to release his car, to get it back to him and to restore the ownership of the car to his own name.


"This is an act of swindling and fraud," Attorneys Shai Raveh and Michal Randai – Zeevi explained to their client, who had approached them after being forced to deal with the consequences of the act of fraud. "The conman identified the car in which he was interested, and then he transferred, in a manner which is not clear, the ownership at the Licensing Office. This was done at a branch of the Postal Bank, when it is not clear whether the procedures of the Licensing Office in this regard were complied with. From this point on, the path was clear to the conman to pledge the car to the bank. All that time, the car remained in the possession of the client, the lawful owner, who was not even aware of the fraud. The direct damages caused to the said client, as well as the emotional distress entailed in having to deal with the consequences of the act of fraud, are many. Only after we intervened and a lawsuit was filed in the court were orders given for the return of the car to its owner, for the cancellation of the pledge and for the registration of the lawful owner of the car at the Licensing Office. In this particular case, the bank which registered the pledge was negligent, by not examining the car prior to the pledge, and also in the identification of the car – which was lucky for the client – because it made it easier to cancel the pledge."


How can the risk be reduced of exposure to an act of fraud such as this?


It is not possible to prevent fraud, however, it is possible to reduce the exposure to it, explains Attorney Shai Raveh. "It is advisable not to leave the car license in the car, when you leave the car, if you take it to be washed or repaired at the garage. While it is true that there is no law stating that you must take the license from the car, and most car owners do leave the license in the car, nevertheless, in such situations, you are increasing the risk of the possibility of the theft of documents from the car, because the car is open and is not always being supervised by its owner. This is also the case with your ID card or driver's license. You are advised to keep these documents on you, at all times, and not to leave them in the car. You should consider registering a pledge on the car in favor of a relative, or a company controlled by the owner, etc. In this way, the car will not be an 'attractive' proposition for these conmen, because the banks will not give them credit against a car which is pledged to someone else."

How to Steal a Car Without Breaking into it