An unfortunate “tow truck scam” incident is currently being widely shared on social media platforms. The story is as such: the victim lost control of his car, and thus required the vehicle to be towed. A tow truck then appeared at the scene, offering his services. The rest, you can pretty much guess at this point.

Having negotiated a fair sum to have the car towed to the police station, the victim was then asked to sign a document, which, in essence, gave the tow truck operators permission to move the vehicle in question. But, instead of doing what was asked of them, they then proceeded to demand a large amount of money from the victim; failing which they’d refuse to return the car.

The victim was left with no choice but to pay up, and instructed to have his vehicle dropped off at a pre-arranged car workshop. Not content with his ‘haul,’ however, the tow truck driver demanded for more payment, to which the victim refused. Angered, the perpetrator started physically abusing the victim with a rod, and only let up after the victim tried to call the police to the scene.

Unfortunately, as scary as this incident may sound, it’s not exactly an isolated case. More and more of such scams have been happening in Malaysia.

Dear readers, we should all take heed of such two truck scams and be more careful in such instances. For starters, you should never take up the offer of a “random” tow truck that “just so happened to be nearby” your car crash/breakdown location. There have been many cases where the tow truck operators themselves engineered the accidents, through the use of oil or nails on a targeted stretch of road.

What you should do, is to contact a trustworthy service operator to assist you in such situations.

For cars under warranty

The best option is to call your car’s official service centre or dealer for emergency roadside assistance. Certain models with electronic gear selectors and/or parking brakes may even need a special tool to engage a “tow mode.” Otherwise, the next best choice is to go with the tow truck service provided by your motor insurance company, or an association like AAM (Automobile Association of Malaysia) that offers breakdown services.

For older cars without warranty

Calling the car company’s official service centre is still a good option in this case, as it’s the most straightforward and worry-free choice (but not necessarily the most cost effective solution, naturally). Your motor insurance provider or AAM should be next on your list, followed by your regular workshop’s preferred tow truck driver/company.

If you’re interested in getting an AAM membership, you can click here to purchase one for RM60 a year, discounted from the usual RM75 a year price.

Put simply, you should never hand over your vehicle to someone that you do not know or trust, especially so if they appear even a tiny bit dodgy. Even if they appear to be nice, it’s always wise to err on the side of caution. Know that you have the rights to refuse their service and wait for your preferred tow truck to arrive.

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