The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is warning consumers about the ongoing dangers of tow truck scams with a new PSA. It’s designed to give drivers a heads up that sometimes tow trucks that arrive on the scene aren’t who they always claim to be. NICB investigators report that in some cases tow truck drivers will falsely claim they’ve been dispatched by police or an insurance company. Not realizing at first that it could be a scam, drivers could agree to the tow and soon find themselves out thousands of dollars in towing and storage fees before they can get their vehicle back.
“There have been some instances around the country where tow operators have become belligerent with auto accident victims who challenge or question their intentions. A legitimate tow operator will satisfy your concerns; an illegitimate one will not,” said NICB chief operating officer Jim Schweitzer.
You can check out the NICB Public Service Announcement below:
Know Before You Tow
While NICB says its focus is to prevent insurance fraud, it is more concerned with your safety. If the tow operator becomes agitated, do not persist. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible and report the incident.
Here are some tips from the NICB to avoid tow truck scams:
- Never give permission to a tow truck operator who arrives unsolicited to take your vehicle.
- If you or law enforcement did not call a tow truck to the scene, do not deal with that operator.
- Do not provide tow truck operators with your insurance information.
- Do not provide tow truck operators with personal lien holder information.
- Determine that the tow truck signage is identical to what appears on any documentation the tow truck operator provides (they may say they “work with” your insurance company).
- If the tow truck does not display signage identifying the name of the tow company, ask for company identification.
- If a tow operator’s legitimacy is in doubt, call the police.
- Do not give a tow truck operator permission to tow your vehicle until they:
- Provide a printed price list, to include daily storage fees and miscellaneous charges that will apply if they tow your car (if the prices seem too high, ask the police or your insurance company to call a towing service for you).
- Provide printed documentation indicating where the vehicle is being towed if it is not a location of your choosing.