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Officials warn of tow truck scam in Montana


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Montanans are being warned about a scam where call centers are posing as local tow truck companies. 

The Montana Highway Patrol recently learned of these suspected scam activities in Billings and Missoula. The scam works like this: Consumers using search engine terms such as “tow truck companies near me” find results that include sham businesses. In the Billings area, listings for “F & V Towing,” “Woods & Sons,” and “Fonnie’s Wrecker Service” appear, along with fake positive consumer reviews and photos that appear to be local brick and mortar locations for the companies. 

However, when people call the companies for service, they are connected to an out-of-state call center whose representatives demand the caller’s credit card information. Additionally, upon closer inspection of the business profiles, photos of empty buildings available for lease are used to create the impression of a local presence.

Fake tow company websites will tend to look generic, with stock photos and few specifics about the business. These sites are put up in a hurry, so text on their website may have spelling or punctuation errors. Their goal is to get you to call right away so they can get your payment information so everything will direct you to a contact.

“There are a few good ways Montanans can protect themselves from falling victim to this scam before they’re stranded on the side of the road, waiting for help,” Attorney General Tim Fox said in a news release. “First and foremost, never give out your credit card or other payment information until the time of service. Legitimate tow truck companies don’t charge until the tow is completed. Additionally, tow truck businesses doing business in our state must be inspected annually by the Montana Highway Patrol. They should have Letters of Appointment from the Highway Patrol and an inspection sticker in the tow truck’s window.” 

Fox added that consumers with questions about how to verify legitimate tow truck companies can call their regional MHP office , or the state Office of Consumer Protection at 800-481-6896 or 406-444-4500.


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  • 1 month later...

This is an example of the unintended consequences of motor clubs and insurance companies encouraging the public to rely on apps and internet for towing and emergency services instead of going through police dispatch.

Scammers are everywhere. How is a motorist to know that they need to be aware of a scam like this? This warning aired one time on the television news in Montana. How many potential victims did it actually reach?

I, like most other towers, have seen many instances when a motorist declined help from law enforcement when they needed a tow, because they wanted to rely on an app or 800 number to get help to them. They do this because they think their insurance won't cover the charges if they go out of network, or they think it will get them help faster. Quite often, we get the dispatch from law enforcement hours after the fact, when the consumer finally gets frustrated with the runaround, or start thinking about their safety.

Light duty towing & recovery in Whitehall MT since 1980.

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Fenderbendr6, it was the Progressive app among other reasons that brought AGERO down to number 10 in the rankings when many think they should be higher. The response times using the Progress App which sends the insured motorist to AGERO where they have to repeat everything they just put into the app. While I realize any motor club would want to confirm the information, it's like some motor clubs have little or non of the details put into the app. Then it is long phone calls prior to being called directly by the tow truck which is coming from 40 miles away. At this point 40 minutes have gone by and everyone is frustrated its going to take another 20 minutes minimum and the insured motoris is standing in the roadway.

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  • 1 year later...

I have seen this scam twice in my area. The worst part is it is the motor clubs falling for it. When they start price shopping and pay an internet scammer/ tow company that doesn't even exist. They pay the scammer with a credit card and leave their customer stranded for hours, waiting for help that will never arrive. When the Montana Highway patrol tries to track down the scammer, the website just disappears.

Light duty towing & recovery in Whitehall MT since 1980.

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