JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Schemers are out to cash in on your car's windshield by trying to convince you to let them replace it for "free".
Experts say the fraud leaves many insurance companies having to pay for stacks of fraudulent glass repair claims.
The fraudsters will hover around parking lots, car washes and even go door to door claiming you have a crack on your windshield.
It happened to Rich Alexander.
"He said this is a crack, you don't recognize it right now but this thing could grow and become a big mess," said Alexander.
That’s the pitch he was approached with by an unknown man who claimed his car’s windshield needed to be replaced.
If it wasn't because Alexander was warned about this scheme he may have fallen into the trap.
According to a local insurance expert, this kind of fraud is becoming more common in our area.
"It mostly started in South Florida where there is a bigger population, it moved up to Central Florida and now it's all over the state including here in Jacksonville," said Matt Carlucci, Brightway Insurance Agent.
According to Carlucci, in some cases the schemers will even use a device to break the windshields themselves.
He says, it’s one reasons we’re paying more for car insurance.
"The only way they can make that money back is by raising their rates," said Carlucci.
If you’re approached by someone trying to replace your windshield, Carlucci suggests you ask for their business card. Many times, they won’t have one but if you’re still unsure call your insurance company.
Experts say, since glass claims are not investigated it's difficult to determine which ones are legitimate and which ones are fraudulent.