Don’t let anyone tow your car under the pretence of a recall. File picture: Newspress.
Don’t let anyone tow your car under the pretence of a recall. File picture: Newspress.

Car recall scams on the rise - here’s how to avoid losing your car

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Sep 14, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - Scamsters will stop at nothing to rob people of their hard-earned possessions and their methods are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Car recall scams are nothing new, but according to King Price Insurance, the last few months have seen a sharp increase in cases of cybercrime syndicates trying to scam people into handing over their cars.

It typically happens like this: a car owner gets a call from someone claiming to represent the manufacturer or dealer, and claims that a safety recall has been announced for a certain mechanical glitch or an airbag design fault. It all sounds completely legitimate as the scammer already knows the vehicle owner’s registration number and other personal details.

The scammer then makes arrangements for the car to be fetched by a tow truck or flatbed and that’s the last they will ever see of their car.

How to avoid such a scam

If you get a phone call about a recall for your car, the first thing to do is to contact the manufacturer or nearest dealership immediately to verify that it’s a genuine recall, King Price recommends.

“Under no circumstances should you hand over your car to a third party,” the insurer added. “It’s highly unlikely that a manufacturer will fetch your car from you. They would generally ask you to take it in to a dealer yourself.”

“In the case of a genuine recall, the manufacturer will send you formal communication that describes the process in detail, the steps to follow, and how to verify what’s happening at every stage.

“Never give out your personal information, or make any kind of payment, to anyone claiming to be from a car dealership or manufacturer. End the call or delete the email, and call the nearest dealership. Or the police.

Will insurance cover this kind of crime?

According to King Price, most insurance policies require that their clients act with due care and precaution, and therefore they should be careful not to hand over their car to anyone irresponsibly.

However, King Price says that if one of its clients was scammed in such a way and they genuinely believed that the car was on its way to a repairer, the insurer will pay out. It is always best to be safe rather than sorry however, and always make sure to contact the dealer or manufacturer directly.

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