“Cash for Clunkers” Scams The federal government recently signed into law the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), commonly known as “Cash for Clunkers”. This is a government program that helps consumers purchase new, more fuel efficient vehicles when they trade in a less fuel efficient, “gas guzzling” vehicles. Bogus so-called “Cash for Clunkers” websites have popped up all over the Internet, asking consumers to provide personal information, including names, addresses and social security numbers, so they can “register” for or “enroll” in the program. Other sites tell car shoppers they will put them in touch with authorized “Cash for Clunkers” dealers in their area. These websites are all scams. The only valid CARS website is http://www.cars.gov. The program is scheduled to be rolled out in July 2009. Car dealers will have to register to participate in the program, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hasn’t even determined how the registration process will work. One sure fact is that there will be no need for consumers to register at all. The NHTSA is the government agency assigned to administer the program. NHTSA created the official Cars.gov website to provide trustworthy information about the program. The agency also has a hotline: 888-327-4236. Consumers can visit the website or call the hotline number to get official, legitimate information about the program. For frequently asked questions, visit http://www.cars.gov/faq.html.