If you drive a car and own a phone, you have likely been targeted by this scam once or twice. Here is what you need to know about auto warranty scams and how to stay safe.
How the scams play out:
In an auto warranty scam, a scammer reaches out to a target, offering to sell or extend the warranty policy on their car. The scammer will claim to represent the automaker or policy company, and may even spoof their number so it appears as if they are legitimate. To make the offer seem even more authentic, the caller will know the exact model and make of the target’s car. Unfortunately, though, if the driver agrees to buy or extend a warranty policy on their car through this call, they will be sharing their money and information with a scammer.
- Just another robocall. When the pitch to buy a new auto warranty, or to extend an existing one, starts with an automatic message, you can be sure you’re dealing with a scammer.
- Extend your warranty now! Pressured to buy an extended warranty for your vehicle? You are likely being targeted by a scammer.
- Plus shipping and handling. If the alleged representative selling the extended auto warranty starts asking you to pay a processing fee or a down payment before providing any real details, hang up. Scammers notoriously collect non-refundable payments before their targets recognize the scam.
- Restricted callers only. Legitimate telemarketers are required by law to display their phone number and/or the number of the company they represent when they call a prospect. If your Caller ID is showing “private number” or “restricted”, you are likely being called by a scammer.
First, never share personal information, such as a Social Security number or checking account information with an unverified contact no matter the platform. Next, if you would like to purchase a new policy or extend the one you have, reach out to an auto warranty company on your own instead of waiting for a phone call or message offering to sell you a policy. Finally, if you are constantly getting ad-bombed and robocalled by illegitimate messages, mark the email as spam, delete all messages and block the number from calling you again.
If you’ve been targeted:
If you believe you have been victimized by an auto warranty scam, take immediate steps to mitigate the damage. Do not engage further with the scammer and report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov. You can also alert the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at the FCC complaint center.
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