Flood-damaged cars could reach the market. How to avoid buying one

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Floodwater surrounds vehicles following heavy rain on an expressway in Brooklyn, New York.

Ed Jones | AFP | Getty Images

Anyone who considers buying a used car in the upcoming months may want to be extra-cautious.

As storm-ravaged areas take stock of the destruction left by Hurricane Ida, thousands of flooded cars are expected to be among the personal property that was ruined. While cars with flood damage may have titles that indicate that, the system is not foolproof — which means some of these autos are likely to be purchased by unknowing buyers.

“Unfortunately, following major hurricanes or flooding events, we see fraudsters try to scam consumers by selling cars damaged in the flooding,” said Tully Lehman, public affairs manager for the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Compounding the potential for fraud this time around is the high demand for used cars as the global shortage of microchips continues slowing production of new…

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