The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is warning trucking companies about a scam that involves their own trucks.
ADOT learned about the fraudulent scheme recently through a trucking company in Mesa which told the agency that a caller with knowledge of the trucking industry was posing as an ADOT compliance officer and using alarming information about one of their company trucks in an effort to get money.
Jason Bates of Cactus Leasing recorded the phone calls between himself and a man who claimed that one of Leasing’s trucks had been in an accident and that he would need to pay ADOT $2,000 to get his truck back from the state. The caller said the money was needed for repairs stemming from the accident.
The man also told Bates that two log books had been found in the cab, insinuating that the driver was breaking federal law by keeping two different sets of driving records on the same truck.
“This guy was trying to scare me, that my driver had two log books. We don’t run paper log books at all,” Bates told eastvalleytribune.com.
The caller even provided identifying numbers from the truck, but Bates, who’s been in the trucking business for 21 years, was suspicious and placed the man on hold to check the status of one of his trucks known to be in the area where the accident supposedly occurred.
Bates learned that the truck had not been involved in an accident, and he knew that ADOT was not in the business of impounding vehicles in exchange for money for auto repairs. To further confirm his suspicions, Baker asked the caller for the truck’s VIN. That’s when the man hung up and Bates contacted ADOT.
“The truck company told us about it. We want to warn other trucking companies,” said ADOT spokesman Ryan Harding.
“An officer is not going to unilaterally call out a mechanic. It would not have happened. The guy made up a story and tried to get some money out of them.”
Bates, who said the man was knowledgeable about the trucking industry, passed along the recorded phone calls between himself and the caller to ADOT which is currently investigating the incident. ADOT can be contacted at 602-255-0072.