Dealers are reminded to be vigilant in verifying buyer identification

Published On
November 15, 2023

Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has successfully dismantled an international criminal ring specializing in the theft of luxury vehicles from Greater Toronto Area (GTA) dealerships. Operating under the codename “Project Luxe,” the investigation uncovered a sophisticated scheme where criminals posed as car buyers using high-quality forgeries.

The group used these forged credentials to fraudulently acquire luxury vehicles valued at over $1.6 million from GTA dealerships. Subsequently, these stolen vehicles were resold, often making their way overseas.

Initiated as a response to individuals impersonating representatives of a legitimate retailer, the Halton Police-led operation revealed the extent of the criminal network involved in these high-end vehicle thefts. The success of “Project Luxe” underscores the importance of collaborative efforts in dismantling transnational criminal operations.

Also involved in Project Luxe were the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, The New York and New Jersey Port Authority Police, Toronto police, the OPP and the FBI. In addition to recovering the luxury vehicles, police also seized equipment used to create fraudulent methods of secure payment.

Dealers and salespersons are also urged to be vigilant in verifying a buyer’s identity with a driver’s license, and one other form of identification that includes the name and address.

To prevent fraud when selling your vehicle, dealers are reminded to:

  • Use common sense and good judgment with prospective buyers.
  • If the transaction is making you feel uneasy, be cautious, as scammers use high-pressure tactics.
  • Take steps to identify the vehicles individuals arrive in and other people associated with them when something doesn’t seem right.
  • Secure payment before transferring ownership; verify payment with the issuing bank (i.e. bank drafts).
  • Verify the buyer’s identity with a driver’s license and another form of identification. Be cautious with out-of-province identification.
  • Verify the legitimacy of the identification,
  • If they are not a repeat or loyal customer, be cautious about the deal when they want delivery right away.
  • Be cautious with distant buyers; beware of sight-unseen offers or third-party transactions.

For information on the investigation, contact HRPS Regional Fraud Unit at 905-825-4777.