A thief scammed a family out of more than $30,000 after selling them a stolen vehicle with fraudulent paperwork.

After connecting with a seller on Facebook, the Ruiz family thought they had found the perfect truck for their needs. They drove nine hours from West Texas to meet the seller in a parking lot in Arlington.

However, little did they know that they were being scammed by a thief who had stolen the vehicle and forged documents to make it seem like a legitimate sale.

Juan Ruiz and his son Assael are out $34,000 after driving from El Paso to buy a gray 2019 GMC Pickup truck, according to a report by local news outlet NBC 5 DFW.

After purchasing the vehicle, Ruiz started having second thoughts.

So, they went to the police to get the vehicle checked out, and as it turns out, Ruiz’s suspicion was correct. They had unwittingly purchased a stolen truck with fraudulent paperwork.

They took the vehicle to White Settlement Police, where Police Chief Christopher Cook ran a check on the temporary license plate, according to NBC 5 DFW. The paper tag came back registered to a trailer.

“It had a Texas title that appeared pretty authentic,” Cook told NBC 5. He also ran a VIN check with the Texas Department of Insurance. They discovered the vehicle wasn’t registered in any state.

“If you run a VIN and there’s no record, and it doesn’t match the sequencing of a typical GM product, yeah, that’s a red flag,” said Cook, according to NBC 5. “This guy is out $34,000 cash. The likelihood of recovering that money is really slim.”

The 2019 pickup that Ruiz purchased is, in fact, a stolen 2023 model out of Houston, according to Cook.

The vehicle is worth more than Ruiz paid, but the suspect priced the truck at 2019 market value so as not to raise suspicion.

“We’re sad and annoyed by how they robbed us like it was nothing,” Ruiz’s son Assael told NBC 5.

“Right now, he should be driving the truck, but we’re in the same car we came in,” Assael added.

The father and son are urging others to be cautious when buying a vehicle online and to do their due diligence before making a purchase.

As reported by The Dallas Express, counterfeit paper tags have become a nuisance in Texas, and the DMV is instituting new measures to combat fraudulent tags.

Although this particular vehicle was stolen in Houston, motor vehicle thefts in Dallas are also on the rise. Motor vehicle thefts have increased by 6% year-to-date, according to the City of Dallas’ crime analytics dashboard.