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Bandit Towing - The Crime of Towing Fraud

Crime is everywhere and all around us. Not all crime is requires the use of stun guns or pepper spray to thwart a potential assault or robbery. Some crimes are perpetrated by white collar or blue collar people who take advantage of others when they least expect it.

Unscrupulous tow truck drivers are towing away more than illegally parked vehicles in towing scams.

Tow truck drivers are like cabbies. They are hardworking individuals out to make an honest buck. They will be there whenever you need them. They come to take away your car whenever your car breaks down. Outside of this invaluable service, tow truck drivers also clear the city streets and private parking lots of illegally parked cars. Parking is a huge demand for customers who patronize businesses. No doubt, business owners will need available spaces into which their customers can park. However, illegal parking can put a dent into a business owner's pocketbook if there is no place to park.

As one can plainly see, towing is a legitimate business that services the needs of the customer. So what is all this talk about a towing scam called "bandit towing?"

"Bandit" tow truck drivers are black hat operators who make it a practice to monitor privately owned parking lots in order to tow away cars whose owners are not patronizing businesses associated with that lot. In many instances, the bandit tow truck driver ignores the fact that the car's owner does patronize a business associated with the lot before going to another towing a car enclosed .

If you have ever been a victim of the crime of "bandit" towing, keep these facts in mind: The tow truck driver does not have a legal lien on your car until it is in transit on a public highway.

• If your vehicle is already mounted on a tow truck but is still in the parking lot, the crooked tow truck operator ask you for half of what an official police impound lot would charge for towing.

• If you refuse or do not have the means to pay the requested amount, the issue becomes a civil matter, and the tow truck operator must release your car.

• If the crooked tow truck operator leaves the parking lot with your car because you could not pay the requested amount, then the tow truck operator is in violation of the law. He is taking a vehicle without the owner's consent. Check the laws in your state because those laws may protect you from unscrupulous tow truck drivers.

Here are some classic towing schemes:

1. In some schemes, car repair or car maintenance shops are ripped off by con artists posing as tow truck operators. They call the shops telling them that they are bringing in a car for repairs or services. The con artist performs the required paperwork then hands the car repair owner or employee the keys. The business they pays the con artist the towing fee thinking they will be re-imbursed the money. Only there is no car being towed and the keys are just random keys.

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