The jury is out on how much Hurricane Sandy will cost the city, but estimates are in the tens of billions. Vehicle damage accounts for a sizable percentage, and scam artists are trying to take advantage of that. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following report.
In Sandy's wake, cars washed up all over the city, overturned and flooded, creating an auto junkyard.
"After Hurricane Sandy up to 250,000 cars have flood damage," said James Owens, president and CEO of CARCO, a fraud detection company.
Law enforcement is worried these cars will get back on the road by those looking to make a buck off of a lemon.
"Sometimes they go to shops that end up repairing them and then they don't put what's called a 'salvage' on the title and as a result they end up back in circulation looking like a good car," Owens says.
"A consumer could buy a flood damaged car, it may operate correctly for a while but then a while down the road they could have issues with the flood damage causing the air bags not to work properly and the car stalling or doing something bizarre on the road. Basically the car could be very unsafe," Owens says.
Officials say it's happened before in other major flood events like Hurricane Katrina and unfortunately it will happen again.
To make sure a flood damaged car isn't purchased, visit The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System's database run by the Department of Justice at www.vehiclehistory.gov.
"This is a national database that has all the car titles in it and it records when a car gets totaled or salvaged due to floods and other things," Owens says.
Through the website, a report on a car can be ordered through a number of services including CARCO, for a fee.
If a car has been damage take it to a licensed mechanic and have it inspected.