On weekends you can see all models of cars and trucks parked on grocery store or other store parking lots with for sale signs. Many will have a person sitting by them waiting to try and sell the vehicle.
One weekend, LAPD car theft detectives checked out a dozen or more of these vehicles sitting on parking lots in the San Fernando Valley in the City of Los Angeles. The detectives found that most of the vehicles were stolen.
Here is how this crime works to rip-off the consumer.
The thieves steal the car late Friday night and have them on the parking lots with for sale signs the next day. When someone shows up and is very interested in buying the car or truck the crook puts on the pressure. Lets say the car is just one-year old and has a book value of $24,000. The Kelly Book value is normally posted on the car. The crook says he is forced to sell because of a medical emergency and he needs the money now. He says he will sell it for $12,000 so he can get the money next week.
The consumer realizes this is a great price for a one-year old car that right now has a value of $24,000. The crook shows him a bill of sale that he will sign over to the buyer and the buyer gives him just $2,000 to hold the car. The crook says he will meet the buyer Monday morning at the DMV to get the title put in the consumer’s name. To show good faith and assure that I show up at the DMV I will give you the car right now. The crook says you give me $2,000 now and I will give you the car, and we will meet Monday morning and I sign over the title all very legal, and then you pay me the balance $10,000 later in the week after you get the money from the bank or credit union.
How can the consumer lose in this deal? Monday morning when the buyer goes to the DMV to get the title put in his name the seller-crook does not show up. Then he finds out the car is stolen. The CHP takes the car and he must convince the police he did not know the car was stolen when he bought it. That’s not too hard to prove because most car thieves do not bring the stolen car to the DMV for a title.
So you now have nothing for your $2,000. Never, never, buy any used car until you have check its history. You can do that by going to the DMV and run the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) in the state computer. But better than that and quicker is to run the VIN through www.carfax.com. This company will give you a complete sales, mileage, and accident report on the vehicle from all the US States. This cost $15. If you do not have access to a computer for the Internet, go to your public library and they have access to the Internet.