NCDOT warns of used car scams stemming from recent rains

Press release from The North Carolina Department of Transportation:

The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles’ License and Theft Bureau reminds car buyers to look out for flooded vehicles offered for sale following recent rains throughout the state.

“We want to remind all prospective car buyers to be on the lookout for vehicles that may have been affected by floodwaters during recent rains in North Carolina and up and down the eastern seaboard,” said DMV Commissioner Nick Tennyson.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the state of New York alone estimated that as many as 150,000 cars were totaled as a result of flooding during Superstorm Sandy last fall, including about 5,000 new cars at dealerships.

While the recent rains have not reached the levels of Sandy, the National Weather Service reports that they have measured 10 inches above normal over the past 90 days, which is enough, DMV inspectors say, to have covered some vehicles to the danger point.

The best protection against fraudulent reselling of flood vehicles is keeping a keen eye out for telltale signs of fraud and misrepresentation, whether the sale is initiated over the Internet or in person. DMV License and Theft Bureau inspectors provide the following tips:

· Check for rust around the vehicle, including under the hood, on parts like screws and bolts, and on the brakes behind the wheel.
· Check the vehicle’s interior and under the vehicle. You may see water lines where water settled. It is very hard to remove these stains.
· Check all the electronics of the vehicle. Flooding sometimes will cause these systems to malfunction.
· Check the seller’s title to see if the vehicle has been previously branded “Flood or Water Damage.”
· Contact your local DMV License and Theft Bureau office for assistance in identifying potential flood vehicles.


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