'Cash for Clunkers' Scams

July 29, 2009 Scammers always try to piggy-back on new programs and this is no exception fake websites are popping up asking for personal and social security information

So called Official websites have also begun to appear stating consumers must first register for this program and are then in some instances they are steered to an authorized dealer in their area.

What is the Cash for Clunkers program:

* Consumers will be able to take advantage of this program receive a $3,500 to $4,500 discount from the car dealer when they trade in their old vehicle and purchase or lease a new one.

* The program ends November 30, 2009 or when authorized funds are no longer available.

Who's eligible:

* In order to be eligible for this program consumers must provide proof of insurance for at least 1 year.

* The trade in vehicle must be less than 25 years old.

Watch out for:

* Consumers must make certain that the advertised price does not include this rebate already.

* Not all dealers are part of this program - they have to register with the government. No one dealer is superior over the other.

* Not all vehicles will qualify for this credit the new vehicle must be priced less than $45,000 and passenger vehicles must have a combined fuel economy value of at least 22 MPG.

* Be wary of dealers wanting to charge extra for the vehicle because of the rebate

* If the interest is as high as it is now there may not be funds available come November 2009

* Consumers do not have to pre-register or provide personal information (social security numbers or home addresses) to be eligible because the auto dealer will apply a credit at the time of purchase

Attorney General Notes Rise in Scams Surrounding Federal Auto Trade-In Credit Program

Attorney General Lisa Madigan today warned consumers to beware of identity-theft scams related to a new program operated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that is designed to help consumers buy more environmentally-friendly vehicles.

Before this program even officially launches, we're already seeing scams pop up online, trying to falsely convince consumers that they must first pre-register and provide their Social Security numbers and other identifying information in order to participate," Madigan said. "That is absolutely not true. Consumers don't need to register or provide any personal information to an outside source before taking advantage of the trade-in credit with a qualified auto dealer."

The program, known as the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), offers $3,500 or $4,500 credits through auto dealers to consumers who trade in less fuel-efficient cars and purchase or lease a new vehicle. The $1 billion initiative is designed to help boost auto sales and put more fuel-efficient cars on the nation's roads.

Madigan said unofficial Web sites have begun to appear online, using similarly named URLs and names, and falsely stating that consumers must first register for the program and asking for consumers' personal information such as a Social Security number or home address. Other sites claim to connect consumers with authorized auto dealers in their local community.

According to the NHTSA, consumers do not need to register or obtain a voucher to benefit from the program. Instead, the auto dealers will apply a credit at the time of purchase.

To be eligible for the credit, consumers must provide a one-year proof of insurance, registration and a clear title, free of any liens. In addition, the vehicle must have been manufactured within the last 25 years. To learn more about the CARS program, visit www.cars.gov or call the CARS information hotline at (866) CAR-7891 (227-7891).

Madigan encouraged consumers to report suspicious programs or advertising to her Consumer Fraud Bureau. Consumers who believe they have been the victim of consumer fraud can download a complaint form at www.IllinoisAttorneyGeneral.gov/consumers or call the Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Hotline at one of the following numbers:

Chicago 1-800-386-5438
Springfield 1-800-243-0618
Carbondale 1-800-243-0607
Spanish-language Hotline: 1-866-310-8398

For more info visit bbb.org, IllinoisAttorneyGeneral.gov or the NHTSA

330 N. Wabash Ave Suite 2006


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
(866) CAR-7891

Copyright © 2023 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.