Don’t get caught by latest car defect recall scam, experts warn

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File image.

Published Sep 7, 2023


Johannesburg - Car scams have spiked and experts are warning car owners to be vigilant. The advice is that you should never hand over your car keys to anyone who’s contacted you offering to fetch your car to fix a defect, without first checking with the car manufacturer directly. That’s the warning from insurer King Price, who said there’s been a sharp increase in cases of cybercrime syndicates trying to scam consumers out of their cars. According to the Insurance Crime Bureau, they are targeting owners of high-value cars.

Client Experience partner at King Price, Wynand van Vuuren, said it’s an old scam that’s resurfaced. “Someone claiming to be from your car manufacturer or dealership calls, and says there’s been a safety recall or a special service that needs to be carried out. They then arrange for your car to be collected, and that’s the last you see of it. What makes the scam believable is that the scammers know your registration number and personal info. Many people actually think they’re getting great service, when in reality they’re being robbed,” he said.

3 ways to avoid car recall scams

King Price’s advice to consumers is simple:

If someone calls you about a car defect, contact the manufacturer or your nearest dealership immediately to verify if the caller is an employee, and if there’s a genuine recall.

Under no circumstances should you hand over your car to a third party. 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.

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.

What if you become a victim of such a scam?

“At King Price, our policy wording says that you should always act with due care and precaution, and you should always be careful not to hand over your car or keys to anyone irresponsibly. However, if you honestly believe your car is on its way to a dealership or repairer, and it turns out that you’ve been scammed, we’ll assess your claim on its merits,” said Van Vuuren.

The Saturday Star

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