Scam artists follow the headlines, so it's no surprise that they're trying to profit from the federal government's new "clash for clunkers" program. The Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), helps you buy or lease a new, more fuel efficient vehicle when you trade in a less fuel efficient vehicle.
Avoid so-called "cash for clunker" websites that ask for personal information including your name, address, and Social Security number, so they can "register" you for the program. There is no registration requirement for consumers; only new car dealers need to register to participate. Scam artists often create bogus websites as a trick to get your personal information. Once they have that information, they can use it to commit identity theft or other types of fraud.
There is only one official government site for this program - www.cars.gov. This site has answers to frequently asked questions, links to the website of the Environmental Protection Agencey that will tell you whether your old car qualifies, and a timeline for the program.
To learn more about protecting your personal information, visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
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