Officials: Turo fraudster used fake identification to rent car, commit thefts

If you see a silver BMW with no safety sticker and a license plate WRY372, call police or crime...
If you see a silver BMW with no safety sticker and a license plate WRY372, call police or crime stoppers at 808-955-8300.(HNN)
Published: Nov. 19, 2022 at 8:23 PM PST|Updated: Nov. 20, 2022 at 12:18 PM PST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A host for Turo — an online car sharing marketplace — is turning to the public for help in locating his car after discovering his rental car was being used to commit crimes.

For the safety of his family, the Turo host does not want to be identified.

Last Saturday, the host said a customer rented out his silver BMW and picked the car up in Ewa Beach.

Two days later, the host said he got a call from HPD advising that his car was spotted in the Hawaii Kai area breaking into other vehicles and driving recklessly.

That’s when the host learned the primary user of the reservation was not responsible for the theft.

“The person who you rented the vehicle to, her vehicle was stolen three days ago and that’s her identity,” said the host. “And I feel kind of naïve in the sense that they were able to utilize, they were able to get by, and they were able to just provide a fake identification.”

The person who showed up to get the car was the secondary user.

“The primary user said yes, my coworkers are going to come and get it and then the co-worker was added as an authorized user,” said the host.

“So, when they showed up, the guy showed me driver’s license, it looked exactly like the guy, they look the same, so I didn’t think anything of it.”

The car was supposed to be returned Wednesday but the man never showed up.

A police report was filed and Turo launched their own investigation. They found that the fraudster attempted to make other accounts with different licenses and photos but they were successfully shut down before he could make reservations.

That wasn’t the case for this Turo host. This time the fraudster went by the name, Kenneth Molina.

Turo released the following statement.

“We were troubled to learn that a host’s vehicle was involved in a crime in Honolulu last week. Our dedicated Trust and Safety team took immediate steps to support our host and is actively working with Honolulu Police to resolve the issue. Although these incidents are uncommon in our marketplace, we offer vehicle owners protection plans, and urge our host community to always check the primary guest’s driver’s license to avoid possible fraud and theft. We are doing all we can to resolve this situation quickly, and we thank you for your patience.”

Retired HPD Deputy Chief John McCarthy said those who are in the business need to be extra vigilant.

“If you’re going to be engaged in a business like this, it’s incumbent upon you to protect yourself,” McCarthy said. “In this case, what you got is you got an identity theft, you got the credit card debt, you got the credit card fraud, then you got the auto theft, so you got a series of cases kind of a bit unusual.”

The Turo host said this is a learning lesson and encourages other hosts to invest in a tracking device for their vehicles.

If you see a silver BMW with no safety sticker and a license plate WRY372, call police or crime stoppers at 808-955-8300.

An investigation remains ongoing.