RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's barely been two days since the government's "Cash for Clunkers" car trade-in program officially started, and already scammers have found ways to confuse you and steal your money.
The program is designed to get inefficient, environmentally-unfriendly cars off the road. And even before the government got the program off the ground, the internet was plastered with fraudulent websites -- Targeting you.
"Cash for Clunkers" is the nickname of the government program congress put a billion dollars into providing vouchers to car buyers who replace gas guzzlers with new cars that are more fuel efficient.
If your clunker meets certain requirements, you could get up $4,500 knocked off the price of a brand new car.
"People are really excited about it because it seems like found money to the consumer."
"In the environment we're in right now, a program like this is heaven sent."
It's that kind of thinking that has criminals and unscrupulous car dealers taking advantage of consumers. The national highway traffic safety administration is the government agencies running the program and says so called "Cash for Clunkers" websites have been popping on the internet asking you for personal information like addresses and social security numbers.
Other websites are offering to put people in touch with "Cash for Clunkers" dealerships.
The government says beware, there's only one official website for information about this program.
And doesn't even use the "Cash for Clunkers" nickname. It uses the program's official name -- car allowance rebate system. A website by any other name is "use at your own risk."
One other note, if your car qualifies for this program, you don't have to do anything.
The dealership automatically knock $3,500 or $4,500 dollars of the price of the new car. Then he has to go to the government to get reimbursed that money.
Money never actually touches your hands. Don't believe anyone who says it does.