Watch Out for Auto Warranty Scams
- Fraud Watch
- Frontwave Credit Union
If you own a car or truck, chances are good you’ve gotten a call at some point about extending your vehicle’s warranty. Extended warranties, also known as vehicle service contracts, can be legit — helping cover the cost of certain repairs after your vehicle’s original manufacturer’s warranty expires. But there are also a lot of scams out there. In fact, according to the Federal Communications Commission, auto warranty robocalls were the top unwanted call complaint filed by consumers in 2020.
So how to auto warranty scams work? And how can you tell them apart from real extended warranty offers? Let’s take a look at how they typically play out.
The Set Up
It all starts with a phone call from a scammer posing as a representative of a car dealer or vehicle manufacturer telling you that your auto warranty has expired. The call will include some sort of pitch for renewing your warranty or policy. They may offer you a special rebate or urge you to act fast before your warranty expires.
During the call – which often begins automated or pre-recorded – you may be instructed to press a certain number or stay on the line. Once connected with a “live representative,” you’ll then be asked to provide personal information, which potentially can be used to defraud you.
What can make these calls especially believable – and dangerous – is that scammers may have specific information about your particular car and warranty that they use to deceive you into thinking they are calling from a legitimate company.
Tips for Protecting Yourself
Never provide any personal information, such as a social security number, credit card information, driver’s license number or bank account information to anyone who calls you unless you can verify you are dealing directly with a legitimate company with which you have an established business relationship. Telephone scammers are good at what they do and may imply that they work for a company you trust. Don't fall for it.
Use caller ID to screen calls. Legitimate telemarketers are required to transmit or display their phone number and the name and/or the phone number of the company they're representing. But be cautious even if a number appears authentic. Scammers can "spoof" caller ID information – deliberately falsifying the information transmitted to your Caller ID display to disguise their identity. If you think the call may be legit, call the company back at the phone number listed on their website. Don’t simply call back the number that called you.
For more tips on protecting your money and your identity, check out our articles on preventing identity theft, avoiding online shopping scams and protecting yourself from COVID-19 scams, as well as our infographic on phishing scams.