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Cuomo: look out for flood damaged cars in NYS

Posted at 6:38 PM, Sep 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-15 18:38:22-04

After widespread flooding from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Governor Cuomo is warning New Yorkers to be on the look out for flood damaged cars. People looking to make a quick buck take these flood cars, clean them up and then usually bring them out of state to try and sell the car to unsuspecting buyers.

Sam Buscarino has seen a few of these flood cars over the years at Sammy's Auto Repair on Niagara Street in Buffalo.

"They can be real problem cars," he explained. "They'll spend the money on beautification to make sure the car looks and smells good. But six months down the road as things start malfunctioning, then you got a problem."

He tells people shopping for used cars to take the time to do a close inspection of the vehicle, looking under seats, checking the ceiling and lifting up rugs to try and find any signs of water damage. But even all that sometimes isn't enough.

"Some of these guys are really good," Buscarino said. "As far as how they camouflage if it was a flood car or not."

Before buying a used vehicle, Buscarino advises people to ask for a Carfax or vehicle history report from the seller and check the title to see if the car was salvaged.

"Extreme weather will continue to test our state, and although it brings out the best in New Yorkers, it unfortunately brings out the worst in scam artists who use a devastating situation to make a quick buck," Governor Cuomo said. "This year's hurricane season has already destroyed hundreds of thousands of vehicles in Texas, and with more storms expected, I am urging all consumers to check the VIN of used cars by visiting the National Insurance Crime Bureau's VINCheck database."

You can look up the car's VIN number here to see if the car was ever flood damaged or stolen.