Your car manufacturer or dealership calls. Says there’s been a safety recall, and they’re sending a flatbed truck to pick up your car.

They know your registration number and personal info, and it all seems legit and above board. So, you hand over your keys when they arrive, and think about the great service you just got.

Chances are, that’s the last you’ll see of your precious wheels – and to make things worse, most insurers don’t pay for theft through fraud.

That’s the warning from insurer King Price, which says there’s been an “alarming” rise in the number of theft syndicates trying to scam consumers into handing over their car keys or personal info in recent months.

“Criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated. By targeting dealership records, they often have detailed info about you, like when last you took your car for a service and even how many kilometres you drive per month. So they really sound slick and convincing when they call you,” says King Price’s Jacques Victor.

What can you do to avoid being scammed? King Price’s advice to consumers is simple:

* If someone calls you claiming that your car is subject to a recall, contact the manufacturer or nearest dealer immediately. In the case of a genuine recall, the manufacturer will send you formal communication that describes the process in detail, the steps to follow, and how to verify what’s happening at every stage.

* Under no circumstances should you hand over your car to a third party. If there’s a genuine recall, a car manufacturer won’t collect your car themselves, as the liability and risks are too high.

* Never give out your personal information, or make any kind of payment, to anyone claiming to be from a car dealership or manufacturer. End the call or delete the email, and call the nearest dealership. Or the police.