Watch Out for Auto Warranty Scams

My mom sent the family a text message this week asking about a letter that she got in the mail. It’s an official looking letter that says that she needs to take action before her auto warranty expires. She just bought her car this year, so she wasn’t sure how this could possibly be. I let her know that I’m certain auto warranty scams are a popular thing. How do I know? Because I’m often contacted about mine and I haven’t owned a car in over 16 years.

Letters and Phone Calls

I receive a letter about my auto warranty expiring at least once per month. Since I know that it doesn’t actually apply to me, I just toss it in the recycling bin. At this point, I don’t even have to open up the envelope to see what it is.

I also regularly get phone calls about the same thing. I never answer calls that I don’t recognize. In fact, I think they actually show up as “spam risk” on my phone. However, these people leave messages, and I see the voice mail transcription before I delete them, so I know that this is what they’re about.

What The Auto Warranty Scams Say

The gist of the scam letter that my mom received was this:

  • Bold letters saying that you must act now or your auto warranty is going to expire.
  • Your vehicle’s factory warranty coverage is about to expire. If you neglect to do anything about it, you’ll have to pay out of pocket for all repair costs in the future.
  • Call this specific number and provide us with your VIN and current mileage.

So, basically they try to scare you into thinking that your about to lose your coverage. If you just bought a car, like my mom, then you might have three or five or even more years of coverage ahead of you. As a result, you could easily panic and think that you must take action. That’s what they’re banking on.

These Scams Are Very Common

I honestly didn’t think much about the scam until my mom sent that message. I had thought it was weird that I get those calls and letters all of the time, seeing as I haven’t had a car in closing in on two decades. However, since I never bothered answering them, it didn’t really occupy my mind.

However, this got me thinking … how common are these scams?! So, I looked it up. And the FCC says:

“Auto-warranty robocalls were the top unwanted call complaint filed by consumers with the FCC for two years running.”

Who knew?

How to Protect Yourself From Auto Warranty Scams

AARP reports that 7 out of 10 American adults have been approached about these scams. They offer the following tips to protect yourself:

  • Never give out private information about yourself, your car, or your finances. The scammers are trying to get that information. Don’t give it to them.
  • Keep a copy of your actual auto warranty. If you ever feel concerned about your coverage, turn to that to find out expiration dates and who to contact for proper help.
  • If a robocall tells you to press a number, even if they say it’s to avoid future unwanted calls, do not press that number. Just hang up.

You can report these calls to the Better Business Bureau and the FCC.

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