SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline) - Even before the program was formerly introduced, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan was warning residents identity theft could rise as a result of the federal government's new "cash for clunkers" program.
Madigan said her office has already uncovered unofficial Web sites trying to convince consumers who are interested in the program to provide their Social Security numbers along with other personal information.
"That is absolutely not true. Consumers don't need to register or provide any personal information to an outside source before taking advantage of the trade-in credit with a qualified auto dealer," Madigan said.
The program, known as the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), was commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and currently offers $3,500 or $4,500 credits through auto dealers to consumers who trade in less fuel-efficient cars and purchase or lease a new vehicle, according to Madigan.
Consumers do not have to pre-register or provide personal information to be eligible because the auto dealer will apply a credit at the time of purchase, according to the NHTSA.
To be eligible for the credit, vehicles must have been manufactured in the last 25 years and consumers must provide a one-year proof of insurance and registration along with a clear title and must be free of any liens.