AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety is reminding buyers to be aware when purchasing vehicles online after more than a dozen cases of stolen vehicles sold online.

DPS said its Criminal Investigations Division in Austin has investigated 15 cases of vehicles that were bought online through social media sites that were later reported stolen since December 2016. The agency added it is investigating those cases in an attempt to find the sellers and file criminal charges.

“If a deal is too good to be true, then you should be concerned that it could be a scam,” DPS Regional Commander Freeman Martin said in a statement. “Scams are sometimes identified when the vehicle has a low price or a personal history is given as to why the price is low, such as divorce, death in the family or military relocation.”

Those looking to buy a vehicle online are reminded to do the following:

- Research before you buy. The Texas DMV offers Title Check, which allows people to run a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) through the national consumer protection database for a fee. The report will give the vehicle’s title history, and will include if the vehicle was in the possession of a junk or salvage yard or declared a “total loss” by an insurance company. TAP HERE for more information about Title Check.
- Keep in mind that sellers can make fake vehicle titles and fake identification.
- Watch for cash only ads or payment methods that require you to wire money.
- Conduct an online appraisal to see the car’s estimated price.

TAP HERE for more information about buying and selling a vehicle from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.