What are the most common roadside assistance scams?

Being in an emergency situation leaves you vulnerable, and unfortunately there are people out there who prey on that vulnerability. It is smart to be conscious of potential scams so you can avoid them. Some of our readers shared roadside assistance scams they have heard of to help you be prepared. Keep reading to learn about them and the steps you can take to avoid them.

Geoff Cudd

Geoff Cudd

Geoff Cudd, Consumer Advocate, and Owner of FindTheBestCarPrice.com.

Ask for Complete Paperwork and Full Quotes

I think many roadside assistance scams are avoidable if drivers are vigilant and trust their gut. Unfortunately when we’re in emergency mode, our vision can blur.

Right off the bat, one of the biggest scams is vague or inconsistent quotes. Scammers will provide an incomplete quote only to tack on additional charges for mileage or fuel. To avoid this, make sure to ask providers for the full quote upfront. If they’re unable to give it immediately, find another service provider.

Missing paperwork is one of the biggest, most easy-to-spot roadside assistance scams that all too many people fall victim to. Ask any roadside assistance provider to provide complete paperwork upon arrival. If the invoice they show you looks sketchy or is incomplete, decline their services, as it’s probably a scam.

Paying Upfront for a Roadside Assistance Package

Roadside assistance scams generally work by taking your money upfront to cover services that will never come when you need it. Be wary of any roadside assistance package that comes with a one-time up-front payment; these scams allow them to have fewer interactions with their victims that way. It’s also worth asking specific questions about how they will provide these services. Do they have their own service vehicles, or will they contact local shops and towing companies?

Ben Michael

Ben Michael

Ben Michael, Director of Auto, Michael & Associates.

Kyle MacDonald

Kyle MacDonald

Kyle MacDonald, Director of Operations, Force by Mojio.

Performing Services You Don’t Need

Roadside assistance scams can be a very frightening experience. I encourage people to utilize AAA services as soon as they receive their licenses. This company is reputable, and extremely considerate and helpful when you need roadside assistance.

The most common scams include a lack of paperwork, towing or repair assistance when you do not actually need it or ask for it, and exorbitant quote prices. To avoid these scams, I highly recommend people rely on AAA or the local emergency number if stranded.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.