You’ve probably gotten that phony call from someone posing to be from an automotive company with a concern about your vehicle’s extended warranty. Most of the time, the scam is so painfully obvious that you’re able just to laugh and hang up. But sometimes you’re hit with a text or a call that sounds genuine, and then the worry and indecision set in. How do you know if this is a car warranty scam? How can you keep scammers from trying to contact you? Keep reading below for expert advice on vehicle warranty scams.
What Is a Vehicle Warranty Scam?
Scams take many forms, but their perpetrators have a similar mission: to obtain your details and payment information. Vehicle warranty scams usually involve a scammer pretending to represent an automobile warranty provider. During the conversation, they’d warn you that your extended warranty is about to expire and persuade you to buy another one from them. It’s a clever approach because most vehicle owners worry about not being financially prepared for a vehicular emergency. A mind in this state entertains the proposed solution — i.e., warranty renewal or extension — and falls prey to scammers’ trap.
The pervasiveness of this concern makes car warranty con very common. According to Robokiller, there were 13 billion total car warranty spam calls in the United States in 2021. This stat implies you likely received around forty of these calls, which is a lot of attempts to steal your money.
Types of Vehicle Warranty Scams
It’s only natural you’re curious, after the umpteenth call, how these people get your number. Often your phone number is sold by different businesses, or you may have accidentally (or intentionally) entered it when filling in your details online. The bottom line is, legally or illegally, your data has been sold, traded, or given away.
Most car warranty scams involve calls. But a growing number of scammers are beginning to exploit texting messaging now that many folks prefer texting when communicating. Sometimes these callers are just trying to fleece you of your numbers; other times they’re trying to sell you a car warranty, but a fault-riddled one. The perceived genuineness of the latter makes it much more difficult to detect.
How To Identify Vehicle Warranty Scams
Call Is Automated
If it’s a robocall or begins with a pre-recorded message, it’s almost certainly a scam.
You Notice Mistakes and Ignorance
A scam caller won’t have the sort of expertise and information that a representative from a real business would. So if you want to test the authenticity of the call, ask them specific questions about your vehicle’s warranty, such as parts covered, history, and model.
Scammer Resorts to Threats
A scammer calling to con you might get impatient and push or threaten you. This is an obvious sign of a scam. We suggest you hang up immediately you detect aggression.
Contact Was Initiated Via a Text, Not a Call
Scam texts have been growing in popularity, so a scammer might contact you via text messaging. This approach is odd because a genuine provider will call you.
Information Involves a Charge
The last thing you should pay for is information about your warranty. This should be provided without a fee. Any caller demanding a processing fee for details is definitely a scam. You shouldn’t have to pay for information about a company or its services.
Wording in the Contract Is Inconsistent
Some scammers have done their research and will come across as legitimate. Even when they’ve done and said the right things, ensure to read the terms and conditions of their contract carefully.
Dubious Offering from a Real Company
Sometimes the caller will be a representative of an actual warranty company, but their policy will not be competitive. Their product will be full of irregularities and inconsistent with what’s on the market. Essentially, they’re scamming you by selling you a faulty product.
How To Protect Yourself From Vehicle Warranty Scams
Screen your calls
If a real warranty company is calling you, its name will pop up on your caller ID. Even then, continue to withhold personal information until you can verify that the person on the other end of the line works for who they say they work for. You can quickly check online to verify the phone number calling you.
Ignore Phone Buttons During Your Call
Do not push any buttons while you’re on a call that seems like a scam. We’re recommending this because pressing a button might prove to the scammers’ system that your number works and will only encourage these fraudsters to harass you.
Consider the National Do Not Call Registry
Signing up for this list makes it illegal for corporations to call you. While this step won’t stop scams, it may help slow the flood.
Get an App That Blocks Robocalls
Many apps on the Play Store and the App Store identify and block scam calls. Download one of these to limit your exposure to scams.
File a Complaint
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) collect reports of scams to help protect others from scammers. Don’t forget to block the scam numbers as well.
Ignore the Calls
Often the only thing you can do about a scam call is to ignore it. Don’t answer if you suspect it’s a scam. You don’t want the scammers to realize your number works, if you can help it. Fortunately, your smartphone will often identify spam calls for you, making it easier to decide whether to pick up the phone or not.
It’s not likely that spam phone calls will ever cease to exist, but we hope this information is helpful to prevent being tricked by these telephone pirates.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.