Saturday, October 08, 2005

Scam Artists May Sell Flood-Damaged Cars

LABELLE, FL. -- Tom Gallagher, Florida's chief financial officer, today
cautioned consumers and auto dealers to beware of buying used vehicles
that may have originated from areas flooded by Hurricane Katrina, and
potentially Hurricane Rita. Officials estimate that 350,000 vehicles were
flooded in New Orleans alone from Hurricane Katrina, and up to 500,000
vehicles could have sustained flood damage throughout Louisiana,
Mississippi and Alabama from this storm. Many of these vehicles are
shipped to other states, including Florida, through car wholesalers.

The Florida Department of Financial Services has partnered with
to give consumers and auto dealers the ability to check vehicle
identification numbers (VIN) of cars previously registered in
FEMA-declared flood-disaster areas. The Car Check: Check out a Vehicle's
History link is now available at The search is available to
Floridians at no charge. The VIN number is found on the inside of the
driver's door or the lower left inside of the windshield.

Gallagher said that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor
Vehicles will also be unveiling a system to allow Floridians to verify if
a used car was deemed totaled by hurricane flooding. That service is
expected to go online in the coming weeks and will also be available

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