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Towing alerts troubleshooting

If you received a towing alert in error, there are three common causes.

Not your car

Did you receive a towing alert that does contain your license plate, but describes a completely different make, model, and color car? Then, it is most likely the result of a data entry error. A different car with a similar license plate was towed. But, the license plate or state was miscommunicated to the police and logged in the database.

In most cases, the discrepancy is fixed promptly, but not before a towing alert was sent to the owner of the wrong plate. More rarely, the Mass RMV may have stamped out a red-color license plate with an identical registration as an older green-color license plate.

Please call the Boston Police Tow Line at 617-343-4629 to report the discrepancy.

Not your license plate and not your car

Did you receive a towing alert that does not contain your license plate, and describes someone else's car? There are several possible reasons for this to happen, including:

  • expired and reissued license plate numbers
  • email addresses previously owned by other users
  • a typo made in either the license plate or email address by either you or someone else during towing alert sign up, or
  • a typo in either the license plate or email address by either you or someone else during motor excise tax payment.

Typos are especially common with license plates containing a number "0" or letter "O". These are often prone to misinterpretation.

Unsubscribing will fix this problem. Open and submit the unsubscribe form for plate and you will no longer receive alerts for the other vehicle.

Your car was ticketed but not towed

You may have been ticketed for street sweeping and received a towing alert without being towed. Tow-truck operators are required to notify Boston Police by telephone before involuntarily towing any vehicle. Street sweeping tows tend to happen in batches when street sweeping starts. For that reason, tow truck drivers sometimes report several cars at a time to the Boston Police.

If yours is not first in the line of cars being towed, then you have a window between when the plate was logged with the police and when the tow truck driver can physically hook up your car.

In this case, you can safely disregard the email alert. If you wish, you can call the tow truck company and ask why they reported your vehicle towed when it wasn't actually towed.

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