Post Content

 

Among the numerous ways con artists skilfully trick consumers into giving up their money, the “dent scam” is one of the more brazen.  Scammers approach individuals, often in very public places, offering to repair the scratches or dents on their car or pointing out fake problems with their vehicle, such as loose tires. The consumer rejects the offer and continues with his or her errands, returning to find the damage repaired and the scammer demanding money.

As awareness of the scam grows, more and more victims are coming forward, and women seem to be the core targets. Common locations for this particular scam include shopping mall and grocery store parking lots and gas stations. In one instance out of Oklahoma, a woman was informed by the scammer that the scratches and dents could easily be removed from her car with wax. Ignoring her rejection, he commenced working on the car and demanded she pay.

Another instance involves a Seattle woman who was grocery shopping at Trader Joes. She was approached by a man whose offer she declined, but returned to discover he was working on her car while she shopped. The scammer ordered she pay him $150. The woman, intimidated and alone, ultimately paid him $60.

How can you avoid being a victim of the dent scam? There are a few tactics:

  • Play along by saying that you need to go to an ATM and then immediately call the police.
  • If you’re in a high pedestrian traffic area, strongly deny the offer and threaten to call the police.
  • Refuse to pay and get back into your car. Move your car away from the scammer or run your errands elsewhere.
  • Ask the stores to monitor their parking lots to catch these solicitors. If you’re uncomfortable walking back to your car alone, see if an employee (or two) can walk with you.

Remember: Any type of business in a parking lot is questionable no matter how convenient it may seem. Don’t fall for it!

If you find yourself a victim of this or any other scam, report the scammers to our Office and the Federal Trade Commission.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for all Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Program and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.

Written By:

Recent Posts

The FTC is Cracking Down on Celebrity “Ads” posted on Oct 18

The FTC is Cracking Down on Celebrity “Ads”

If you have social media accounts, such as Instagram or Twitter, and follow celebrities on the apps, you may have noticed your favorite celeb seems to be using the hashtags #ad or #sponsored with more frequency. Under the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) endorsement guidelines, social media   …Continue Reading The FTC is Cracking Down on Celebrity “Ads”

Whatsapp Scam posted on Oct 12

Whatsapp Scam

Users of the popular app WhatsApp (a free messaging and phone app that allows users across the globe to text and call their loved ones) should be aware of a scam that has been making the rounds again. Scammers have been sending out messages via   …Continue Reading Whatsapp Scam

Apple iCloud Scam Call posted on Oct 4

Apple iCloud Scam Call

Recently, one of our staff members received an automated call from someone claiming to be with Apple support. The recording indicates that there has been suspicious activity on your iCloud account and requests that you call back immediately using the phone number provided: 1-888-320-6849. When   …Continue Reading Apple iCloud Scam Call