Lucky you! You've been selected for lower car insurance rates
due to a review of your driving record, or perhaps rate changes
that have recently taken place in your ZIP code.
Just press 1 for more information.
If there is anything worse than a telemarketing robocall, it's a
telemarketing robocall that's also a scam. Fraud alerts are popping
up across the country as states from Washington to Delaware to
warn consumers to hang up on these digital pests.
The latest automated "offer" to surface is one presenting you
with incredibly low auto insurance rates.
The phone rings (usually just when the kids finally quiet down).
A creepily cheery synthetic voice tells you the good news. You
bite. There is a small chance you might get transferred to a real
person - just as this
reporter in Seattle
did earlier this month and fished for details - but typically
you'll end up being directed to voicemail where you can leave your
But the scam isn't getting you to sign up for car insurance,
it's getting your personal information.
The DMV doesn't share
"Once personal information is divulged, there is no telling what
the scam artists will do with it," Nevada's Attorney General's
Office points outs. "These calls are almost impossible to track,
and if they are discovered, many times the call originates from far
outside the U.S."
The Nevada Insurance Commissioner has
about such a scam circulating around that state that tells
consumers that their ZIP code has been re-evaluated and they can
qualify for lower insurance rates. If you fall for it and
press 1 for more information, you are beckoned to leave a voicemail
with your personal information.
Last week, the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles offered a
warning to its consumers
about phone scams that offer a substantial rate reduction on auto
insurance under the pretext that the DMV authorized the company to
research their insurance history and call.
Delaware's fraud unit is currently investigating such cases.
Hang up. Hang up now.
As, I've told consumers, and my own kids, if sounds too good to
be true, it probably is.
Don't believe any of it. Your state motor vehicle office has
zero idea of what you pay for car insurance.
Don't believe that a car insurance company will seek you out
unless you've been actively shopping for new coverage.
Don't believe someone calling out of the blue offering you a
$250 policy when you know rates are normally $2,500 - it just
doesn't add up. (See "Did you buy fake car insurance?")
The best thing to do if you get a scam call is to:
- Hang up
- Block the number
- Report the call by filing a complaint with the Do Not Call
Robocalls aren't just annoying; they've basically been banned by
the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) -- with fines of $16,000 per
illegal call. And the battle continues: The FTC just announced the
winners of its $50,000 "Robocall Challenge" to find new ways to
block unwanted calls.
Until then, you'll have to find cheaper car insurance the
old-fashioned way, by comparison-shopping on the Internet or
actually talking to an agent or two.
And even then always check up on the company you're buying from
by verifying they're legit with your state's insurance