King Price Insurance has warned South Africans against handing over their car keys to anyone offering to fetch their vehicle due to a “factory recall”.
According to the company, there has been a sharp increase in recent months of crime syndicates making use of these tactics to scam consumers out of their vehicles.
“What makes the scam believable is that the scammers know your registration number and personal info,” said Wynand van Vuuren, client experience partner at King Price.
“It all seems legitimate and above board. Many people actually think they’re getting great service, when in reality they’re being robbed of their car.”
What to look out for
King Price said consumers should be cautious when someone claiming to be from their car manufacturer or dealership calls, and says there’s been a safety recall for an issue such as an airbag or mechanical glitch.
“They then arrange for your car to be fetched by a tow truck or a flatbed – and that’s the last you see of your precious wheels.”
The company provided the following advice to South Africans when they receive a potential scam call:
- Contact the vehicle manufacturer or nearest dealership to verify if the caller is an employee, and if there’s a genuine recall.
- Do not hand over your car to a third party. Manufacturers generally ask you to take a car to a dealership yourself.
- In the case of a genuine recall, the manufacturer will send you formal communication that describes the process in detail.
- Do not 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.
“If you’re scammed in such a way that you honestly believe your car is on its way to a dealership or repairer, insurers like King Price will pay your claim,” said the company.
“Most insurance policies include a requirement that their clients should always act with due care and precaution, and therefore consumers should always be careful not to hand over their car to anyone irresponsibly.”
However, reports have surfaced of certain insurance companies not paying out for these types of claims – so it is advised to contact your personal insurer to find out its policy on scams.