MESA, Ariz. -- Chandler police are warning people about a new scam taking aim at potential car buyers.
The department said the new scam comes as a secondary crime to car burglaries.
Det. Seth Tyler said when burglars break into vehicles, they make sure to also steal the car's registration, and then later post ads for a similar vehicle.
"For instance, if they burglarized a 2008 Chevy Tahoe, they're going to go find a picture of a 2008 Chevy Tahoe and post it online," he said.
When a potential buyer shows interest, the suspect asks for a deposit to hold the vehicle and sends the potential buyer a photo of the registration to make it appear as though they actually have the vehicle posted in the ad.
"They send that person a shot of the vehicle registration as a sign of good faith that, 'Hey this is my vehicle, and it's legit,'" Tyler said. "Then they tell that individual, ‘Send me a couple hundred bucks, I'll hold it for you and you can come look at it.'"
After wiring money for the deposit, Tyler said the suspect then takes off and disappears.
He recommends potential car buyers always see the car in person, meet sellers in public places and match the vehicle identification number to the car registration before sending any money to avoid getting scammed.