By Grant Bissell
St. Louis (KSDK) - There's a Superstrom Sandy-related scam that could soon hit the Midwest.
Authorities are warning that thousands of water-logged vehicles from the East Coast could soon flood the used car market across the country. Many of the vehicles may look just fine, but buyers could get stuck with a cab full of mud and an engine ruined by salt water.
"Some people are unscrupulous and might try to do it, get them down to the Midwest, get them down south where people aren't suspecting to have a flooded out car and pay top dollar at an auction house," said Pat Hamill of St. Louis Auto and Truck Repair. "Or possibly a used car dealership buying a car from an auction house and putting it on their front row as a good clean car and not knowing it's been under water."
A spokesman for the St. Louis Better Business Bureau says buyers need to do some research to avoid getting scammed.
"What people need to do is look at the title to a used car and to see if it's been sold at some point from one of the flood-damaged areas," said Chris Thetford. "That's a red flag."
Even if the vehicle and title look clean, it's always a good idea to have a mechanic check things out before you buy.
And if you come across anything you think is a hurricane-related scam, call the Justice Department's fraud hotline at 866-720-5721.