A new campaign from the National Insurance Crime Bureau is warning drivers to be wary of rogue tow truck drivers who prey on accident victims.
The insurance industry-backed organization says it is getting frequent reports of scammers who show up at accident scenes falsely claiming that they were sent by an insurance company or called by the police and then overcharge for services that aren't always covered, sometimes acting belligerent toward uncooperative car owners.
According to an NICB spokesperson, “rogue towing” is particularly common in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and New York City, and it is both an insurance fraud and a safety issue.
A series of public service announcements offers several tips to drivers on how to avoid or deal with a suspicious situation, including:
- Never give permission to tow your vehicle, or even deal with an unsolicited operator who arrived without being called by you or the police.
- Do not give tow truck drivers insurance or personal lien holder information.
- Confirm that the signage on the tow truck matches the information on any paperwork they provide. If a truck does not have signage, ask the driver for company information.
- Ask to be provided with documentation showing prices, including storage fees, and the location where the vehicle is being towed before they hook it up.
- Call the police if you have any concerns about the tow operator’s legitimacy.