The experts say California is a good place to dump a car that has been in a flood because it's the largest motor vehicle market in the country and it's such a long distance from the flooding that a potential customer probably wouldn't be skeptical.
Frank Scadifi of the National Insurance Crime Bureau says con artists know how to obtain a salvaged vehicle, get it in pristine condition and have it transported to a distant market very quickly.
"And then it's sold to some unsuspecting purchaser for a very good price, which is the first clue. If you're buying a vehicle that you know the book is much higher on, you got to ask yourself 'why am I getting such a good deal'."
If a vehicle has been in a flood California law requires the seller to disclose that information. But crooks don't reveal that information, and often forge titles to hide the true history of a vehicle.
Consumer advocates recommend a buyer conduct an independent title check and have a mechanic examine the vehicle for corrosion. Suspicious deals should be reported to the state Department of Motor Vehicles.