Lakewood police investigating new car sales scam

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- The Lakewood Police Department is searching for a man selling cars with fake titles.

FOX31 received a complaint from a grandmother who asked not to be identified. She says she found an SUV on the Offer-Up app that was for sale by a man named "Robert." The ad description said the vehicle “passed emissions," "runs great," has “no issues” and a “clean title.”

After making an offer, the woman met the seller in a public parking lot and paid him $2,650. But when she tried to register her new car, she got a surprise.

"The supervisor came over and said the number '1'  was scratched off, so somebody has defrauded, altered it," the woman said.

The thief didn’t take the time to cover up the clue that the car’s odometer had been rolled back to show lower mileage. The ad showed 150,000 miles.

"The title said it was 196,000 and that was three years ago, so they’re estimating it has 250,000 miles," the woman said.

LPD spokesperson John Romero tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers buyers can protect themselves by first checking the vehicle’s VIN through a trusted company like Carfax.

"It is about $20 to $50 to run those tests, the background and history. For that little investment, it’s worth it to know that what you’re going to buy is legit," Romero said.

Police say you can also ask the seller to go with you to have the title transferred and stick with dealerships that come with good referrals. Only use trusted and established websites.

If you have been scammed, always make sure to report it to police, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation or the Colorado Attorney General’s Fraud Department.

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