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Avoiding Car Warranty Phishing Scams

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 7/6/2011

If you’re getting emails telling you that your vehicle warranty is about to expire, it could be an extended car warranty phishing scam. Jean Scheid, an auto dealer, tells us how to spot the truths from the scams.

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    The Hook

    Computer and Screen Wikimedia Commons Hackers and phishers want your money and your personal information. With online fraud always on the rise, now comes a new twist—extended car warranty phishing scams. How can you spot them?

    According to a press release by Goodmail Systems, first you’ll get an email telling you that your vehicle’s warranty is almost expired and that if you act immediately, you can get extra protection. Acting immediately means offering up your personal information.

    It doesn’t end there either. Along with the car warranty scam, some people are receiving emails offering unheard of discounts for new cars if they provide personal information including credit card and social security numbers, and dates of birth.

    These emails may seem like they’re coming from a dealership or an automaker when in fact, they’re just scams from hackers who want your personal information.

    People who are providing personal information on these “too good to be true offers,” soon find credit card and other online fraud problems as well as identity theft.

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    If it Sounds Too Good to be True….

    That old saying "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" does apply here. To protect yourself, follow these tips:

    • Know Your Car’s Warranty – Everyone should know if they have any remaining warranty on their car and keep in mind there can be more than one type of warranty such as a powertrain, emissions, and corrosion warranty. Read your warranty booklet that came with your car and know your actual mileage.
    • Beware of Emails – No auto manufacturer sends out emails when original car warranties are about to expire. They do, however, often have automated phone call setups that offer a return number if you are interested in obtaining information about a car extended warranty. Dealerships rarely, if ever, send out emails regarding extended warranties and if they do, they don’t ask for personal information.
    • Call a Dealer – If you do receive an email that threatens your car’s warranty is about to expire, call any authorized dealership and give them the vehicle identification number (VIN) and mileage on your car and ask them to check. You can also visit or call the dealership where you purchased the car and ask them if they sent you an email.
    • Buying an Extended Warranty – Even if you receive one of these emails, the best place to buy an extended warranty for your vehicle is at a dealership or a reputable aftermarket extended warranty company.
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    Car Warranty Phishing

    E-Mail Wikimedia Commons While hackers prey on just about everyone online, this extended car warranty phishing scam is also dangerous if people click on the links contained within these emails. Goodmail Systems also warns that those links, once opened, allow hackers to get into your computer in an attempt to obtain personal information, so steer clear of links.

    Keep in mind that some of these car warranty scams aren’t coming from emails either. Whocallsme is warning people that if you receive calls from a 240 area code and are offered an extended warranty, it’s also a scam to obtain personal information.

    Like most online scams, this one can be tackled if you utilize some common sense and don’t provide personal info just because you’re asked. Avoid these extended car warranty phishing scams by knowing your car’s warranty and if you are close to running out of your manufacturer’s warranty and want extra protection, call a reputable place that sells car warranties.

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    Goodmail Systems Press Release on Redorbit (6/15/10)

    Image Credits:

    • Computer and Screen / Wikimedia Commons
    • E-Mail / Wikimedia Commons