Scam Alert - Flooded Automobiles Flooding Markets
The Consumer Protection Unit of the Alaska Attorney General’s Office warns Alaskans that flood damaged vehicles in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma are expected to make their way to markets across the country.
The U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance warned that consumers in states which do not directly track flood damaged vehicles, such as Alaska, are particularly at risk. The BJA recommends that consumers educate themselves about a vehicle’s history before making any purchase decisions.
Overseen by BJA, the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) is designed to prevent concealment of flood damage and other vehicle histories. After past hurricane events, authorities reported truckloads of flooded vehicles being taken out of the impact zone where they were dried out, cleaned and readied for sale to unsuspecting consumers in states that do not brand flood vehicles. It is currently estimated that due to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, as many as 1 million flood-damaged automobiles could potentially be passed on to unsuspecting buyers in the coming weeks and months.
The floods caused by or associated with these hurricanes have resulted in severe water damage to thousands of vehicles that can make electrical systems and airbag sensors prone to failure. Prior to purchasing a vehicle, NMVTIS allows consumers to find information on the vehicle's title, most recent odometer reading and brand history. A “brand” is a descriptive label that states assign to a vehicle to identify the vehicle's current or prior condition, such as “junk,” “salvage” or “flood” designation. By capturing into one system specific information from multiple entities such as state motor vehicle departments, insurance carriers, salvage auto auctions, automobile recyclers, and junk and salvage yards, NMVTIS offers states and consumers protection from title fraud and potentially unsafe vehicles.
“BJA remains committed to ensuring the consumer protection benefits provided by NMVTIS,” said Acting BJA Director Tracey Trautman. “We encourage prospective purchasers to consider obtaining a NMVTIS vehicle history report and have the vehicle checked by a trusted mechanic as part of making an informed used car-buying decision.” The list of approved NMVTIS vehicle history report providers can be found on the official NMVTIS website.
If there are any questions, please contact the Consumer Protection Unit Staff at (907) 269-5200 or contact Cynthia.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consumer Protection Unit