As if Hurricane Harvey and Irma were not bad enough, some of the more than a million cars damaged by these two hurricanes will be turning up as used cars, often being sold to unsuspecting buyers. Scammers will often put together phony title papers that may indicate the car is from the West coast when in fact, it originally came from Texas or Florida and may contain hidden water damage that could present serious safety problems. The practice of transporting a car to another state and re-registering it is called “title washing.”
Whenever you purchase a used car you should always get a full report on its history. The United States Department of Justice operates The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System which provides much information about used cars. The NMVTIS provides a list of various companies such as Carfax that have been approved to provide reliable reports. These companies charge between $2.95 and $12.99 for a report that will provide detailed information on any used car you are considering purchasing. However, as a courtesy to consumers, Carfax is making its data base available at no cost at this time for people to check on the history of a car before they buy it. Go to https://www.carfax.com/press/resources/flooded-cars
Also, you should have a mechanic whom you trust always check out any used car that you are considering buying.