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Wednesday 5, July

Car-kidnapping: A new scam hits Berlin

A towing company called Yana GmbH was found to have illegally moved 58 cars in early June - demanding large sums each time.

Photo: IMAGO / Andreas Gora

Car-kidnapping: A new scam hits Berlin

A towing service in Berlin has been illegally moving people’s vehicles and demanding large sums of money to release information about their location.

According to a report in rbb, the scam was first discovered after Georgi Komitov discovered his car was missing on June 1. He first thought the vehicle had been stolen, but after talking to police, he learnt it had in fact been moved by a private towing company called Yana GmbH. He was given a number to call, but his suspicions were raised by some strange WhatsApp communications and the fact he was asked for an unusually large sum of money for its return: €476.

Komitov paid the fine, but something didn’t sit right. He’d parked his car in a supermarket parking lot and could prove that no towing request was ever made. It looked like the company had acted illegally. When he reported this to the police, they discovered that Yana GmbH had been on a car-kidnapping spree. Between June 1 and 8, the dodgy company moved 58 cars in Spandau without any order to do so. Berlin police now advise motorists to remain sceptical of high fines or those that come with pressure to pay in a short time window.