City of Sacramento Police Department

Chief of Police
5770 Freeport Blvd., Suite 100
Sacramento, CA  95822-3516

(916) 808-0800
Fax : (916) 808-0818


For Immediate Release No. 20130719-113
Friday, July 19, 2013

Vehicle Scam - Buyer Beware

The Sacramento Police Department would like to remind the community to be cautious when buying and selling vehicles to private parties.  Detectives have seen recent instances in which stolen vehicles are being sold to unsuspecting buyers responding to online ads. 

Detectives recommend the following tips to avoid falling victim to this scam:

·         Print out the ad so you will have evidence of the sale. 

·         Meet the seller during normal business hours in a public place such as the local police department. 

·         If you have the vehicle registration number (VIN) and/or license plate number, contact the Sacramento Police Department non-emergency number and ask if the vehicle is listed as stolen.

·         Ask the seller for picture identification and compare the picture to the person you are dealing with.

·         Make sure the seller has the Title to the vehicle and it actually belongs to the vehicle you are looking at.  This can be done by comparing the VIN and license number of the vehicle to the Title in hand.

·         Make sure you receive a Bill of Sale and Release of Liability.

·         Watch the seller fill out the Title, Bill of Sale and Release of Liability so you can say you saw the seller sign the forms.

·         Last but not least, if the deal seems to be too good to be true, it probably is!  

The Sacramento Police Department urges anyone that may have been a victim or have information regarding these types of scams to contact the dispatch center at (916) 264-5471 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP (4357) or text in a tip to 274637 (CRIMES). Enter SACTIP followed by the tip information. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Sacramento Police Media Relations · (916) 808-0808 ·

The Mission of the Sacramento Police Department is to work in partnership with the Community to
protect life and property, solve neighborhood problems, and enhance the quality of life in our City.