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Car Scammers Are Getting More Creative

As car prices continue surging, con artists are getting creative with scamming unknowing buyers and car owners. Here are the latest scams reported by news broadcasts around the country:

Engine light tape scam on used cars

CBS46 news in Atlanta, GA, reports a buyer bought a 2006 Toyota Camry with a little over 151,000 miles for $4,000 at a dealership. The salesman told the buyer the vehicle did not need any repairs and would not have any problems. The buyer took his word for it and did away with a pre-purchase inspection. Soon after taking the vehicle home, the buyer ran into issues.

The buyer had a licensed mechanic perform a post-purchase inspection. They found a number of issues, including signs the roof had been crushed. Moreover, the car’s true mileage had been concealed. Apparently, the car’s whole digital panel was replaced with another that showed 97,000 fewer miles. The vehicle’s Carfax report showed a mileage inconsistency, as the original mileage of the vehicle was 248,000 miles.

Typically, when you turn on the ignition, all warning lights on the digital panel should light, but in this panel, the check engine light did not turn on. Apparently, a piece of electrical tape was used to black out the light, so it looked like the car was fine. The buyer was able to get her money back and learned a valuable lesson: Before purchasing a car, always have the vehicle inspected by an independent mechanic.

Car Wrapping Scam

WSOC-TV from Charlotte, NC, and NBC12 out of Richmont, VA, warn of a car wrapping scheme that starts with car owners receiving a text from scammers pretending to be employed with a popular consumer product brand. They offer to pay the car owner to “wrap their car” – essentially place their company brand advertisement on their car. The scammer offers the car owner as much as $1,800 in advance, but to get the check, the owner would have to provide their driver’s license and Social Security number. The scammer sends the check, which is more than the amount mentioned, with instructions for the owner to deposit the check, keep part of it as their share, and wire the rest to the car wrapping company. Weeks later, the owner finds out the check was fake and they are out the money they sent to what they thought was the car wrapping company. 

The valuable lesson: If you receive a message urging you to deposit a check and wire money back, or provide your Social Security number or any other personal information,it’s a scam. Every time.

When in the market for a used car, stop by Carousel Preowned.  Carousel Preowned serving Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, North Liberty, Marion, and Coralville, IA, is proud to be an automotive leader in our community. We do our best to ensure your complete satisfaction every time you step into our car dealership. This is why we offer the widest selection of used and pre-owned cars, trucks, and SUVs and provide true ease of purchase in Iowa.

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