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Daily Q&A: How can I avoid tow truck scams during the holidays?

With holiday travel, what tips do you have to guard against tow truck scams if a roadside emergency occurs?

Concern about overcharging for towing services has risen during the last year, according to National Insurance Crime Bureau. The bureau reported claims of inflated towing or storage bills increased 103 percent during the first nine months of 2010 when compared to the same period last year.

Here are some tips from Allstate Insurance Co., to help protect against tow truck scams:

• When possible, use a towing operator pre-screened by your motor club or roadside assistance program.

• Never give a tow truck operator permission to take your car if they weren't called by you or by law enforcement personnel.

• Do not provide a tow truck operator your insurance information.

• Make sure all signs on the truck and documentation provided are identical and consistent.

• Whenever possible, have your car towed either to your home or a repair shop of your choice to avoid any storage fees or additional fees.

• Make sure you sign below the dollar amount quoted, not necessarily the bottom of the document.

• Always remove personal items and valuables before having your car towed.

Question for the Consumer's Edge? Send it to ipenn@sptimes.com or twitter.com/consumers_edge. Questions are answered only in this daily feature.

Daily Q&A: How can I avoid tow truck scams during the holidays? 12/20/10 [Last modified: Monday, December 20, 2010 5:23pm]
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