When is a stolen car not a stolen car? Well, never really, but when it’s a ‘clone’, unsuspecting buyers lose thousands. In a newer scam called VIN cloning, thieves and organized crime rings trick people into buying stolen cars using the identity of another car that looks exactly the same. A special ‘Hot Wheels’ segment by WSVN in Miami explains that criminals steal a car, then find the same make and model in a parking lot. According to Chris Basso with CARFAX®, it’s as “easy as going to a parking garage or a parking lot somewhere and writing down the vehicle identification number. Manipulate paperwork, create a new VIN plate and slap that on a stolen vehicle.”
From the WSVN story: Felix Legreca wanted a black Chrysler 300. He finally found one online for $10,000. It was a smooth ride, until the police showed up. Troopers told Felix he was the victim of car cloning. A fake vehicle identification number, or VIN, was put on a stolen car and sold to him. Felix not only lost his car, but he was also out the $10,000 he paid for it because the seller disappeared. And he’s not the only victim.
Along with consumers like Felix, dealers also have fallen victim to this scam. The good news for everyone is that CARFAX information may contain important clues that can help you spot and avoid possible clones. Here are several things to look for in the vehicle history:
- Multiple registrations in different states over short periods of time
- Inconsistent mileage readings
- Accidents and/or service records in various states
- A history that doesn’t start until several years after the vehicle was manufactured.
As a CARFAX Advantage® Dealer, you can run as many CARFAX Reports as you need to help avoid VIN cloning wherever and whenever you purchase vehicles. Plus, CARFAX Used Car Listings lets people on carfax.com shop your inventory with the added peace of mind they won’t be another victim of this scam. Protect your business and your customers – become a CARFAX Advantage Dealer and get your inventory up on CARFAX Used Car Listings today by calling 888-788-7715.