California car-buying scam hits Placer and Sacramento County

(FOX40.COM) — A Placer County resident recently fell victim to a scam that law enforcement said is circulating throughout California.

The scam involves a person attempting to sell their vehicle, according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO). Deputies said it starts with a car seller (victim) being contacted by a buyer (scammer) who makes arrangements to meet.
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“Suspects have met in the Raley’s lot off Lincoln Way and recently at a victim’s residence in Auburn,” PCSO said.

Next, the scammer arrives at the agreed location with “at least two other suspects in the vehicle.”
During the vehicle inspection process under the hood, deputies said one scammer distracts the seller while another pours oil in the radiator, top of the engine, and vehicle rear.

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The oil causes the vehicle to warm up during a test drive so the scammer can convince the seller that the engine is blown and offer a significantly lower price for the car, according to PCSO.

Placer County law enforcement said that sellers have been cheated out of thousands of dollars by way of the scam. Cases have also been reported in Sacramento, El Dorado, and Nevada counties.

“Our detectives are currently working with the other counties in order to identify the suspects,” PCSO said.

Deputies encouraged anyone who has experienced a similar situation to call the Placer County Sheriff’s Office at 530-889-7800.

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