The AARP Fraud Resource Center can help you spot and avoid common scams. Visit today!

Reply
Info Seeker
0
Kudos
445
Views
0
Replies

Car repair scam

445 Views
Message 1 of 1

My mother lost thousands of dollars through a car repair scam. This is something everyone should be aware of, especially seniors who are often targeted.

 

Mom was parked in the grocery store parking lot. When she came out of the store, a young man was standing by her car. He walked up to her and said "Hi dear, remember me? John, from the Lube Shop? I did your oil change last year. It's good to see you! How are you?" 

 

He named the actual lube shop where she gets her oil changed - which he could clearly see the name of right on the sticker on her windsheild that listed when her next oil change was due.

 

My mother's memory is not what it used to be, so not wanting to appear impolite, she said "Hi John, sure I remember you, nice to see you too." He chatted her up for a few minutes, then pointed out a huge amount of some kind of fluid underneath her car, and expressed concern that there was something wrong with her car. This alarmed my mother. He asked if she kept her maintenance records, saying he wanted to see "which of the guys at the shop did your last maintenance, so I can yell at him". 

 

Mom unlocked the car and handed him her maintenance records from her glove box, which allowed him to see her name, so he started calling her by her name. This of course only added to the appearance that he was for real and knew her.

 

He proceeded to inform her that it the fluid leak indicated she had some kind of problem with her engine, and talked her into allowing him to fix it "off the books", telling her he'll give her a much better deal on the repair if he does it himself rather than taking it into the shop.

 

Unfortunately she completely fell for it. She let him take her car, saying he was going to have "his guys" look at it. First he dropped her off at a nearby diner, where his "wife" was waiting. She bought Mom breakfast, and they waited there for an hour until "John" came back and said that they found the problem, and he needed to buy the parts to fix it, and pay his guys for the work in advance. He took Mom to the bank, where she withdrew $1500 and gave it to him. He promised to only use what he needed, and would give her the rest back.

 

Over the next several hours, he came back twice for more money, saying that they kept finding more and more problems with the car. All this time, the "wife" was buttering her up at the diner. Finally he brought back her car and said it was "good as new". In the end she gave him over $5000.

 

Over the next few days Mom started thinking about this, and wondering if she'd really done the right thing. So she called the phone number "John" had given her - and of course it was a fake number. She called the Lube Shop, and of course nobody of that description worked there, or ever had.

 

She realized she'd been scammed. Unfortunately, she was so embarrassed she didn't tell us, her adult children, until many months later. (We reported it to the police, but given the amount of time that had passed, they said there was little chance anything could be done about it.)

 

She did take her car into the shop, and they said there was no leak, and no indication any work had been done on it. So we figure he probably just squirted some liquid under her car and told her it was a leak.

 

PLEASE don't fall for this. Mom is still devastated. 

Report Inappropriate Content
0
Kudos
445
Views
0
Replies
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Users
Announcements
Get Your Fraud & Scam Questions Answered in the AARP Online Community! Find Out More!