BBB & Oklahoma Attorney General Warn Consumers of Possible Flood Damaged Car Fraud

Flood damaged cars may be making their way onto the used car market. BBB & Oklahoma Attorney General share information on how to identify a scam.
September 19, 2017

Tight shot of hands in front of silver car out of focus in the back handing a pair of keys overNatural disasters often bring out the best in people, but Better Business Bureau® serving Eastern Oklahoma also wants consumers to prepare for the worst. BBB® is warning consumers to be on the lookout for individuals who may be trying to sell flood damaged vehicles on the used car market. 

The Oklahoma Attorney General office sent out a warning about this scam reminding consumers the official definition for "flood damaged vehicle" means a salvaged or rebuilt vehicle that was damaged due to being submerged in water at or above the dashboard. It was also noted that a flood damage disclosure must be completed by owners of cars entering Oklahoma from another state when applying for a title.

Right now it is estimated that flooding has damaged one million vehicles. As the cleanup efforts continue, it is likely that these early estimates will grow and, therefore, important that consumers know how to identify this scam. Here are eight tips for recognizing a flood damaged car:

  • Rust or corrosion under the hood on engine components and wiring;
  • Water in oil or transmission, check this by pulling the measuring sticks;
  • Water lines in the trunk, or in the wheel well;
  • Mud buildup in unusual places, like under the dashboard;
  • Mismatched upholstery and carpet combinations;
  • Rust on unpainted parts like bolts or door hinges;
  • Must odors;
  • The car is missing its title. 

 If you discover a flood damaged car being sold in Oklahoma report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at 405-521-2029 or by email at and to BBB Scam Tracker.

This information was taken from the press release disseminated by the Oklahoma Attorney General office. Read the entire statement here.


For more helpful information on purchasing a pre-owned car read BBB Tip: Buying a Used Car for guidelines. 


Scammers will be busy following hurricanes Irma and Harvey as they seek to take advantage of the confusion in the area and the goodwill of others. Here are some helpful links to stay informed of other possible scams:

  • BBBwarns consumers to beware of potential “storm chaser” scams.
  • BBB Wise Giving Alliance encourages anyone wishing to donate to hurricane relief efforts to review the guidelines for donating to disaster relief here.
  • Find a list of BBB Accredited Charities that are assisting hurricane recovery efforts here.