ALBANY – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today warned New Yorkers to check the VIN on any used car to ensure it has not been reported as damaged from flooding as a result of recent storms.
Hurricane Harvey has left hundreds of thousands of seriously damaged cars in its wake, and consumers should check VIN numbers before purchasing their next car by visiting the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website for the National Insurance Crime Bureau VINCheck database.
“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.”
The DMV website includes information on the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s VINCheck, a free service to help consumers determine if a vehicle has been reported as salvaged or stolen.
Consumers considering purchasing a used vehicle can search up to five VINs per day. The NICB also offers a free brochure with tips on how to avoid post-disaster fraud, which is available here.
Experts say Hurricane Katrina and Super Storm Sandy damaged nearly a half-million vehicles combined. Early estimates say Harvey may double that number.
DMV’s website offers tips on buying vehicles, including the protections available when purchasing a used vehicle through a private sale or from an auto dealer.
DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan said, “There are thousands of honest people selling vehicles at fair prices, but when it comes to car shopping, the old adage holds true: if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you are looking for a car, do your homework. Visiting our website to check the VIN is fast, easy, and could save you cash and headaches down the road.”