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Scam Alert: This 'warranty' will not pay off

THE SCAM: Car warranty

HOW IT WORKS: For most consumers, having a warranty on a vehicle is peace of mind that's tough to overvalue. But offers made in a postcard or phone call can drive the cost way up, with no benefit to consumers. The postcard or caller says your car's warranty is about to expire. Those contacted by post card are encouraged to call a toll-free number to renew it. Callers are pressured to buy an expensive warranty and must make a payment before receiving any paperwork. Experts said such warranties aren't worth what you pay for them, and don't come from your vehicle's manufacturer.

WHAT'S AT STAKE: Your money

HOW TO BEAT IT: As with any service you're offered that you didn't know you needed, be cautious. If you have a warranty, check to see when it expires, what the terms are and what it would cost to renew it. Finally, don't agree to buy anything until you've checked out all the details thoroughly.

For a look at past scams, go to