MOUNT CLEMENTS (WWJ) – Thinking about buying a car this spring? The Macomb County Sheriff’s Department says: “Buyer, beware.”

Lt. John Michalke says disposable income from tax refunds leads to an uptick in used car sales this time of year — and, in turn — an uptick in fraud.

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“People that, you know  receive their tax returns and … have all the best of intentions to go out and buy a nice used car end up getting scammed in one manner or another,” Michalke told WWJ Newsradio 950.

Michalke said one common used car sales scam involves title fraud. “So we encourage people, if they’re out to look at a used car, to make sure they compare the title VIN number with the VIN number that’s on the vehicle that they’re  to purchase.”

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Michalke said you should always be careful of people who seem to be in a hurry.

“Anything that is done hastily, by either party, should send up a red flag. It should give a buyer some cause for concern,” said Michalke.

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If you’re selling, Michalke said you should always have someone with you when you’re showing the vehicle. And, he said, a heavy dose of common sense in avoiding deals that seem too good to be true goes a long way.