Unfortunately this is a pretty nasty scam that can result in reposession and the tow truck driver can’t help you. Here is how the scam works.
The finance company that finances your vehicle asks you specific questions to determine a target amount that makes you think you will be caught up and current on your car loan.
You are asked to verify the loan amount, the interest rate, the length of time you financed for (the period), the number of months you already paid, and the amount you paid each month.
The finance company already knows the monthly payment amount to bring you current on your car loan. They threaten, or sound sincere by saying they are doing everything they can to keep from sending out the repo man.
The questions or verification process is just a smoke screen. The collector is trying to determine your state of mind. In the business this is known as the ‘eval’. Just ask the collector if they are trying to get your cash and the car so they can sell it again, or if they are really trying to work with you.
Remember that unless you are recording the conversation you have no proof of anything. Auto loan settlements are nasty because you think you need to drive to work in the morning and the repo man is always feared. In reality you know what your payoff is and how far behind you are on your payments.
To protect yourself you might be able to convince the loan company to accept a payment through your bank by online banking. If the loan company or finance company demands payment by Western Union or something similar try to get something in writing.
The scam works because you have a valid contract. If the contract says you are liable for the balance due, even if the car is repossessed, you have a problem. Once the car is detailed and cleaned it is sold again. Selling the same item more than once always results in big profits for the seller.
With that in mind, one person reported being scammed this way: I was in an auto accident in my new vehicle. I called HSBC to find out if it was possible to get another vehicle through them should current vehicle be salvaged. Within seconds, they approved another loan not explaining the way it really worked. I was then stuck with 2 vehicle payments after the insurance company decided to fix the wrecked vehicle. Payments were over $1,000.00 per month. I contacted HSBC to tell them what a mess we were in and they said we had to face repossession.”
The settlement takes place if insurance, warranty work, or other factors dictate that you can pay off the vehicle for less that what you owe on it. Repossession and a straight scam takes place if the finance company gets you to pay immediately and repossesses your car anyway. The court claim scam is where they say you still owe past due fees or something else, citing your answers to the specific questions in paragraph two above.