Could You Be Sold A Flood-Damaged Car? | NBC Nightly News


SCAMMED IN TONIGHT’S “ROSSEN REPORTS.”>>Reporter: TONIGHT THE NUMBERS ARE STILL RISING FROM HURRICANE HARVEY TO HURRICANE IRMA. MORE THAN 637,000 CARS FLOODED OUT AND DAMAGED. AND SOME OF THOSE CARS ENDED UP HERE IN THIS FLOODED CAR GRAVEYARD. JUST HOW MANY? LET’S SHOW YOU. WE HAVE OUR NBC DRONE UP. WE’LL BRING YOU UP AND GIVE YOU SOME PERSPECTIVE. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, IN JUST A FRACTION OF THE FLOODED OUT CARS FROM HURRICANE HARVEY AND HURRICANE IRMA. THESE ARE ONLY THE PEOPLE THAT TURN THEIR CARS IN TO THEIR INSURANCE COMPANIES. AROUND HERE, OVER 60% OF THE PEOPLE DON’T HAVE ANY CAR INSURANCE, AND EXPERTS SAY THEY COULD TRY TO RESELL THESE FLOODED CARS ON THE OPEN MARKET ACROSS THE COUNTRY WITHOUT EVER TELLING YOU THERE’S A PROBLEM.>>IT’S OBVIOUS FROM THE DIRT AND DEBRIS THIS CAR HAS BEEN IN A MAJOR FLOOD. SOMEBODY COULD COME ALONG AND FOR A COUPLE OF THOUSAND DOLLARS, CLEAN IT UP, SELL IT TO AN UNSUSPECTING BUYER. EVERYTHING’S GREAT UNTIL THEY’RE DRIVING IT DOWN THE ROAD IN A FEW WEEKS AND THE ELECTRONICS GO OUT, AND BOOM, YOU HAVE A BOMB ON YOUR HANDS.>>Reporter: ROBERT LAWRENCE IS WITH THE NATIONAL CRIMES BUREAU.>>THAT’S HOW HIGH THE WATER CAME UP. IT GOT THE ENGINE, AND IT ALSO GOT THE ANTI-LOCK BRAKES.>>Reporter: HOW CAN YOU TELL? BECAUSE CHANCES ARE A SELLER WOULD CLEAN THAT UP. HOW CAN YOU TELL? WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A USED CAR?>>BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR CONDENSATION.>>Reporter: THE LIGHTS?>>IT HAS WATER IN THERE. YEAH.>>Reporter: HE SAYS THERE ARE OTHER CLUES, TOO, THAT A CAR WAS UNDER WATER LIKE RUST OR CORROSION ON THE ENGINE. BRAND-NEW UPHOLSTERY IN A USED CAR OR SAND AND DIRT IN UNUSUAL PLACES LIKE DEEP UNDER THE SEATS. AND HERE’S ANOTHER BIG TIP –>>SO IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO BUY A USED CAR, TAKE THE VIN NUMBER FROM THE CAR, RUN IT THROUGH OUR DATA BASE, VIN CHECK, AT WWW.NICB.ORG. IT’S FREE. IF THAT CAR WAS FLOODED AND INSURED, IT WILL SHOW UP IN THERE.>>Reporter: IF IT WASN’T INSURED?>>BUYER BEWARE.>>Reporter: FOR EVERY CAR IN THIS GRAVEYARD, EXPERTS SAY THERE ARE THOUSANDS MORE

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