DES PLAINES, Ill., Oct. 1, 2019 — The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is warning consumers about the dangers of tow truck scams by issuing a new PSA.
If you’re involved in an auto accident, you will likely have a towing company move your vehicle to a repair facility or other location. However, in some cases, we are seeing tow truck drivers arrive, unsolicited, at the scene of an accident and present themselves as an immediate solution to moving your vehicle from the scene. Many drivers, understandably shaken by the experience, might agree to the tow without thinking of the consequences and once they get your vehicle on the hook, it may be too late. The result can be thousands of dollars in towing and storage fees before you even get your vehicle back.
“There have been some instances around the country where tow operators have become belligerent with auto accident victims who challenge or question their intentions. A legitimate tow operator will satisfy your concerns; an illegitimate one will not,” said NICB chief operating officer Jim Schweitzer.
While our focus is to prevent insurance fraud, NICB is more concerned with your safety. If the tow operator becomes agitated, do not persist. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible and report the incident.
Know Before You Tow
- Never give permission to a tow truck operator who arrives unsolicited to take your vehicle.
- If you or law enforcement did not call a tow truck to the scene, do not deal with that operator.
- Do not provide tow truck operators with your insurance information.
- Do not provide tow truck operators with personal lien holder information.
- Determine that the tow truck signage is identical to what appears on any documentation the tow truck operator provides (they may say they “work with” your insurance company).
- If the tow truck does not display signage identifying the name of the tow company, ask for company identification.
- If a tow operator’s legitimacy is in doubt, call the police.
- Do not give a tow truck operator permission to tow your vehicle until they:
- Provide a printed price list, to include daily storage fees and miscellaneous charges that will apply if they tow your car (if the prices seem too high, ask the police or your insurance company to call a towing service for you).
- Provide printed documentation indicating where the vehicle is being towed if it is not a location of your choosing.
These PSAs are available for use by media outlets and websites. There is both a 30 and 60-second version available in English and Spanish. These, along with our other PSAs, can be found on both our website and on our YouTube channel.
For anyone who needs access to raw files or audio files, please complete our media request form.