LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Recent flooding has caused a lot of damage across East Texas, especially to cars.
"The problem when you have a flooded car is the damage may not show up for six months to a year," explained Southern Chrysler Service and Parts Director Darryl Duff.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, people are taking advantage of the situation and selling flood-damaged vehicles to unsuspected customers.
What can people do to avoid being a victim in this scheme? Duff said the first step is to buy the vehicle from a reputable place.
"A dealer would be my first choice. They do extensive checks," Duff said. "I mean they don't want to sell a car that's flooded. That angers the customer, and they end up losing business."
Those that plan to purchase a used vehicle from someone other than a dealer can look for things to make sure the car doesn't have flood damage.
"If you're buying a used car, and it has mileage on it, and it has new carpet in it, obviously it all looks brand new, but it's not. I would suspect something," Duff said.
Duff said to check under the carpeting, under the dash, in the trunk, and the seat tracks. If there's rust and mildew, it's a sure sign that the car has been flooded.
For those who are not exactly sure what to check for, they are advised to go to a professional.
"Take it before you purchase it, have somebody check it out, either a dealership or an independent shop look at it," Duff said. "They can look at it, and it can save you a lot of money."
Lastly, Duff suggested to check the price. If it seems like a deal that's too good to be true, it probably is.
"The prices of vehicles are pretty set. I mean you've got all these websites where you can check prices," Duff said. "If you find someone selling one, three or four thousand cheaper ... yeah, there's probably something going on."
If you suspect someone is trying to sell you a flood damaged car, you are advised to contact local law enforcement and report them immediately.