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How Not to Get Taken for a Ride

February 28, 2001

Statistics show that about 45% of auto accident insurance claims in California involve some degree of fraud. But the rate in Los Angeles County is nearly 70%. You might not be able to avoid an accident, but here are some precautions, suggested by the Auto Club of Southern California, that could help you avoid being taken for a ride.

* Beware of anyone who arrives at the scene of an accident offering advice on towing, insurance, attorneys or medical services or offering to provide a free rental car.

* Take control of the situation. Call for a tow truck. Call the police. You can ask them for information on towing.

* Ask the tow truck driver for identification.

* If you don't have a repair location to which your vehicle can be towed, have it taken to the tow facility, where it can be stored until your insurance company can be contacted.

* Know the towing and payment policies for your service.

* If you do find yourself in a situation with a bandit tow truck driver and a fraud chain, get out of it quickly. Call your insurance company for a recommended repair shop, insist that the suspect repair shop release your vehicle and report the incident to police.

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