Tow-truck operators in New York City have been towing away legally parked cars and scamming owners out of cash, according to the New York Post.
The newspaper reported today that “dozens” of city tow-truck companies have been involved in the scam, in which they haul away legally parked cars, and then threaten to have the cars impounded unless they are paid in cash.
One company, Brooklyn-based Fastway, would pull the scam as much as 20 times per hour, according to records.
“They were very rude, very thuggish punks,” one victim, Benjamin Lapin, told The Post. He said a Fastway representative told him he could pay $200 to have the car returned immediately or $100 a day later when he could pick it up at an impound lot.
More than 50 companies had their license revoked, according to data from New York’s Department of Consumer Affairs.
New Yorkers should be on the lookout for scams resurfacing now, as some residents affected by Hurricane Sandy are in danger of being twice victimized.
In several cases, tow-truck drivers have been arrested for towing cars without the permission of their owners, and stealing storm-damaged cars and selling them for scrap.
They have also been taking cars from storm-ravaged areas and storing them at private impound lots, where some owners claim they have been charged as much as $2,300 to get their vehicles returned.