Another phone call, another scam.
It can sometimes feel like scammers have some kind of competition going to see who can hit you with the most robocalls in a day. In fact, according to Truecaller, scams and robocalls account for 67% of all phone calls in the U.S. Each American will receive an average of 28 of these calls a month. More than just an annoyance, scam calls cost 56 million Americans a financial loss in 2020.
One of the most common scams pulled off over the phone is the auto warranty scam. Here’s all you need to know about this scam and how to protect yourself from falling victim:
How the scam plays out
In this ruse, scammers posing as representatives of a car dealer or manufacturer will call to tell you that your auto warranty is about to expire. The scammer will then segue into a pitch for renewing your warranty. During the call, you may be prompted to press a number to stay on the line, and then are asked to provide personal information to continue the process of renewing your warranty. If you follow instructions, you will be playing right into a scam.
How to spot a scam
It is possible for legitimate auto warranty companies to call you about purchasing or renewing a warranty. Look out for these red flags to help you pick out the authentic calls from the scams:
- Hello, it’s Mr. Robot calling. When it’s a robocall on the line, you’re almost certainly talking to a scammer. A legitimate company will hire a live salesperson to promote their services.
- Feel the pressure? Scammers notoriously lead victims to act without thinking by claiming their offer is available for a limited time. If a caller pressures you to act now, you’re likely talking to a scammer.
- Just a small fee … Is the caller demanding a small processing fee, or a down payment on the plan before supplying you with real details and information on it? If yes, you’re being scammed.
- You’ve got mail! Scammers aren’t content with playing games over the phone; they’ll often send bogus documents in the mail, too. These can be disguised to look like genuine alerts from the DMV or auto manufacturer, prompting you to act now because your auto warranty is expiring. Of course, when you call the number on the letter, you won’t be connected to the DMV or auto manufacturer, but to a full-blown scamming operation.
Follow these tips to keep yourself safe from auto warranty scams and similar ruses:
- Never share your personal information, such as your Social Security number, credit card information or checking account details, with an unverified caller.
- It’s also a good idea to screen all incoming calls by checking the Caller ID before answering the phone. Legitimate telemarketers are required to display their phone number and the name/or phone number of the company they represent. If this information is missing, it’s likely a scam.
- It’s important to note that scammers often spoof authentic phone numbers to make it appear as if they are calling from a legitimate company. If you suspect spoofing, you can always ignore a call, and then call the number of the company that allegedly reached out to you, to ask about the contents of the call. If the call was indeed spoofed, the company will not be aware that the call was made.
- If those robocalls are not letting up, consider blocking the number on your phone. You may have to do this several times, as scammers often use more than one phone number to carry out a scam.
Alert the authorities
If you are targeted by a suspected scammer, you can alert the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at the FCC complaint center . These calls likely violate telemarketing and robocall regulations, and by alerting the FCC, you can help them identify the scammers.
If the call you received involved fraud, you can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov.
Robocalls are incredibly annoying, but getting scammed is more than just an irritating experience. Follow our tips to protect yourself from auto warranty scams and similar ruses.
Your Turn: Have you been targeted by an auto warranty scam? Share your experience in the comments.