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Scam alert: Tesla car owners receive fake NTSR letters in the mail

Tesla car owners receive NTSR scam letters in the mail

Scammers are sending snail mails to Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) owners to defraud them.

Tesla Owners Club of Austin member Gail Alfar shared to CleanTechnica a letter that tells her to register for a Vehicle Theft Location and Recovery service that will supposedly enable authorities to track her vehicle in the event of theft.

“Without an active registration, your service will expire and your vehicle may be more “At Risk” to be a target of motor vehicle theft. Police and law enforcement agencies will not have access to track your vehicle back to you through the National Theft Search and Recovery database without fully registering your vehicle,” the letter reads.

The photo of fake NTSR letter. Courtesy of Gail Alfar.

No such thing as a Tesla dealership

The letter may look like official mail, but a closer look reveals it was sent to scam people. For one, it mentioned “Tesla dealership.” 

Unlike other car brands that distribute their vehicles through dealerships, Tesla removed the middle man and directly sells its electric cars to customers.

Back in 2012, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk explained to justify the company’s approach to distributing cars:

“Our stores are designed to be informative and interactive in a delightful way and are simply unlike the traditional dealership with several hundred cars in inventory that a commissioned salesperson is tasked with selling,”

Other red flags

Alfar said that other members of her car group received a similar mail. She said that there is concern among club members that it could be a privacy issue. Besides the fraudulent letter arriving in the mail, Alfar said people also keep receiving emails.

The letter shows it came from the National Theft Search and Recovery (NTSR), but the supposed address of NTSR’s Registration Center in Amarillo, Texas, turns out to be non-existent. The phone number is also linked to scam complaints on the internet. 

A discussion on Tesla’s website reveals that the mail scam goes back to as early as 2016. 

“If you receive a mailing from NTSR (National Theft Search and Recovery), please Google NTSR and at least read the warnings on the BBB,” a Tesla Model S 60D owner posted on the forum. “I’m sure that your car will be listed in their National Theft Search and Recovery Database, but I’m also sure that no police theft unit uses their service. Please do your research before thinking of accepting this “offer.”

Concern for vulnerable people

While some people may do further research when receiving these kinds of mail, Alfar said that her husband is concerned that vulnerable people may fall for the scam.

“He said especially people who are much older, and see the personalization on the header of the envelope,” she said. 

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