Your traveling down the highway and your vehicle breaks down, leaving you stranded. Your first instinct, is to call a tow truck, or just luckily wave one down. Wow, how lucky could you get, a tow truck pulls up in front of my vehicle. The wrecker driver walks up to my window and asked if I need help, I replied, by vehicle stopped and won't start.
The wrecker driver tells me he can tow my vehicle to the dealer, which is just 10 miles away, oh cool I said to myself, so, the wrecker driver hooks up my car and off we go.
From hearing in news reports about wrecker drivers, I asked the wrecker driver (Benjamin Guerrero) if he had the required licenses to tow my care, replies yes, but could not produce either one to me. Then we pull into the dealership, I was feeling much better, when asked how much was the tow, the wrecker driver said $90.
Since I didn't have the cash, I asked if a credit card would work, with a smile, the wrecker driver, said sure. So, I give my credit card number with the expiration date to the wrecker driver, thinking this guy was so nice and polite, completes the paper and gives me an Austin Express Wrecker receipt.
About a week later, I get a call from the fraud protection department of my MasterCard Platinum Card, regarding several unauthorized charges that neither myself or husband recognized.
To make a long story short, that wrecker driver that towed me, he and the dispatcher (Frank Rodriguez) that both worked at Austin Express, confirmed by a manager, Monica Ramos, on bond for tampering with governmental records, were stealing the credit card numbers from people who paid to pickup their vehicles after being towed, or just broken down on the highway.
All three of these Austin Express Wrecker employees were charged with felony offenses, with only one still in jail unable to post bond.
Benjamin Guerrero 9/1/85 Warrant D1DC08302425
Frank Rodriguez 10/14/76 Warrant D1DC08302578
From the conversation I had with the detectives, Austin Express Wrecker and Tow Time have very few properly licensed wrecker drivers.
You must be extremely careful when using a credit card to pay for towing services and vehicle storage fees.What this incident tells us, is that some in the towing and vehicle storage facility industry even being licensed by the Texas Department of License and Regulation are outright criminals who could at anytime commit a criminal act without the average person even knowing they were scammed.