SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Department of Motor Vehicles is warning Californians to be wary of “unscrupulous used car sellers” as they shop online.
In a release sent out Tuesday, the DMV said there has been an increase in stolen vehicles and fraudulent used car listings.
A shortage of new vehicles has driven people to purchase used cars and offer more money for them, the DMV said.
Thieves have taken that as an opportunity to use sites and apps like Facebook Marketplace and OfferUp to sell stolen vehicles with fraudulent titles. They will usually entice buyers by listing the stolen cars far below market value and saying they have already received several offers from other prospective buyers.
According to the DMV, that means buyers should ensure they’re triple-checking the cars they’re eyeing.
They advise anyone looking online for a used car to get a vehicle identification number history report or ask the seller to provide one, then compare that information with the vehicle that’s being sold. Buyers should also compare the name of the owner on the title to the name of the seller.
When seeing the vehicle in person, the DMV recommends buyers insist on meeting the seller either at a local DMV office or a local law enforcement location.
“With an increase in stolen vehicles being sold online, we are reminding consumers that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon. “Californians planning to make a large cash purchase of a vehicle from someone they do not know should proceed with caution.”
Anyone who has fallen victim to a fraudulent used car listing can call DMV Investigations at 661-836-2291.