Consumer Alert: Scammers may try to sell cars damaged by hurricanes

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – If you’re looking to buy a used car, Governor Andrew Cuomo is warning New Yorkers to be aware of scammers that are looking to sell cars that are damaged after the hurricanes.

A number of water damaged cars could be making their way from Texas to be sold across New York state after Hurricane Harvey. Here are a few ways you can check for yourself if the car you’re looking to buy has water damage.

“If I smell mold or dampness or anything like that or if there is evidence of a lot of air fresheners in there, it’s letting me know that there’s a problem here,” Joseph Gentile, Owner of Albany Light Truck and Car Repair, said.

Gentile says by smelling the inside of the car and feeling the floor for any sand or dampness you can spot water damage.

“A good place to check is the seat belts. Usually, you only use about the first three or four feet but all of this is coiled up at the bottom of your car. If there was water at this level there would be stains on this seat belt right here.”

Taking a test drive will also alert you to any abnormal sounds.

“Engine noises that shouldn’t be there. Steering or suspension noises that are squeaky, I would have them checked out by a professional shop.”

Before buying the car, Gov. Cuomo is also urging people to check the VIN number on the National Insurance Crime bureau site which will alert you if an insurance claim was taken out on the vehicle. Even with a clean title, the car could still be damaged so be sure to inspect it fully.

Check the car’s VIN number.

 

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