Police Cashing In On Victims of Insurance Scams

What would you do if you found out that your car, truck, van or suv head been towed away by the police who then told you that your auto insurance was fraudulent? To make matters worse, the police tell you that the only way to get your vehicle back is to buy it back at auction.

That’s what happened to Tracy Martin, a custodian in the Detroit area. Martin was enjoying a Detroit Pistons’ basketball game at the Palace on Auburn Hills when she received a phone call from her paralyzed husband, telling her that her truck was being towed away.

When she went to where her truck had been parked, she found a leaflet explaining that her auto insurance she held on the truck was fraudulent. Martin recounts what happened when she called the number on the flyer:

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“They said I couldn’t get my vehicle back, I have to wait to get it at auction. Then I talked to someone else who gave me an appointment to talk to a detective, but [he said] my best bet was to be ready to buy it back at auction.”

Tracey Martin’s nightmare started when she shopped around for affordable auto insurance. Unbeknownst to her, the agent she talked to was a scam artist and not a real auto insurance broker. When she obtained the license plate for her truck, she provided a proof of insurance which was then verified by the Michigan Secretary of State’s office. They discovered that her insurance was fraudulent and notified the local police who then located her truck and towed it away.

Martin has virtually exhausted all avenues of trying to recover her truck, but to no avail. She has conceded to the fact that if she wants her truck back, she will have to buy it back from the police department at public auction.

Apparently, this is a growing scam has been reported in New York and Florida, but the most prevalent area is Michigan. The problem for Michigan victims of the auto insurance scam is that police assume that they are part of the scam and then use civil forfeiture laws to seize their vehicles and other assets. Other than pursuing an expensive lawsuit against the police, the only other way to regain their vehicles or assets is to purchase it back from the police. Definitely a case of guilty until proven innocent.

All I can say is make sure the person who you are buying your insurance, whether it be auto or home, that you verify they are a licensed agent and the policy they are selling you is a real policy. Otherwise you may find yourself having to buy your vehicle for a second time, first from the dealer and then from the police.

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