At this point, It seems like the scammers are multiplying exponentially. Every time we turn around there is another scam warning in Minnesota.

Recent Scam Warnings in Minnesota

minnesota scam alerts

The Minnesota Zoo announced last month that it was the victim of a new ticket scam involving a fake advertisement shared online offering discounted zoo tickets.

The USPS recently issued a warning for a scary new 'smishing' scam, which is an email or text message that includes a malicious link directing you to information about a non-existent delivery.

RELATED: Better Business Bureau Warns Of New Take On Gift Card Scam

And now, we have another Minnesota scam warning coming from state officials.

The Most Recent Scam Warning Comes From the Minnesota State Patrol

Minnesota State Patrol/Facebook
Minnesota State Patrol/Facebook

The Minnesota State Patrol is warning residents of sneaky car-buying scams -- odometer fraud, undisclosed damage, stolen vehicles. "Scams like this are happening right here in Minnesota," investigators say.

"If you're in the market for a new vehicle, make sure you know what you're getting and who you're getting it from," State Patrol Capt. Jason Bartell said. “Trust your instincts. If it appears too good to be true, it probably is."

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Make sure you always get a vehicle history report from a website like Carfax or Autocheck, and always know the value of the vehicle before you move to strike a deal.

As for the odometer, State Patrol investigators say to "make sure the mileage is consistent and doesn't have any sudden huge changes."

Signs the odometer could have been tampered with are:

  • The odometer does not match the maintenance/inspection records and/or vehicle history report
  • There are physical signs of tampering (numbers not readable, gaps between numbers, etc.).
  • The car looks more worn than the mileage shows.

Buying a car is no small thing and often stressful enough without having to worry about scammers trying to take you for all you're worth. Whether you're buying from a dealership or a private party, there are certain things you can watch out for to protect yourself from potential car-buying scams.

The Minnesota State Patrol Investigative Services Section Offers Tips to Help Spot Fraudulent Car Deals

tips to spot car buying scams

If you're buying from a dealership:

  • Look up the business online and review what customers are saying.
  • Make sure you understand each part of the negotiated deal, including any warranty, and that each part is in writing.
  • Read all the paperwork. Minnesota law requires the dealer to notify you of prior damage exceeding 80 percent of the value or the existence of any title brand, which is a label on a vehicle title that depicts its status, such as salvage, flood, junk, etc.
  • Complete the transaction at the dealer's place of business.

If you're buying your new-to-you vehicle from a private party:

  • Be suspicious of any deal requesting you put money down or transfer funds before seeing the vehicle.
  • Ask if they are the owner and if they possess the title. Verify the name on the title is the person that is selling the vehicle with their state ID, driver's license or another form of identification. Look at the title to see if it shows a lien or a security interest on the vehicle. If it states the name of a bank or credit union, then there is a lien.
  • Be wary. Fraud often occurs with out-of-state titles and sellers that are not listed on the title.
  • Make sure each part of the deal is in writing. The bill of sale or receipt should be signed by all parties and include the names of all seller(s) and purchaser(s), as well as a vehicle description that includes the make, model, year and VIN. Include the date of the sale, the price of the vehicle and the vehicle's mileage. We recommend getting the document notarized.
  • Complete the transaction at a safe location and transfer the title at a local deputy registrar's office together with the seller. If this is not possible, make sure to transfer the title within 10 days as required by state law.
  • Take the vehicle to a trusted mechanic for an inspection.

After you get your new wheels, scam-free of course, hit the road and visit one or more of the highest-rated Minnesota State parks listed below!

10 Highest-Rated Minnesota State Parks

Visiting every state park in Minnesota is an excellent bucket list goal, but with 65 of them spread across the state, where do you start? Trip Advisor has curated a list of the best Minnesota state parks based on the rankings given by visitors who have come before you. Scroll through the list of the 10 highest-rated state parks in Minnesota and start exploring!

Gallery Credit: Minnesota Now

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