Identity theft is no longer limited to individuals. Today, car thieves steal the identity of a car and use it to sell their loot. How do they do it?
A Cloned Car
Cloning is the process of making an exact duplicate of something. In order to sell a stolen car to naïve Retro cars buyers, thieves clone a car and make it look like another car. They alter the identity of a car by replacing the license plate, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and stickers with those from another car.
A Lose-Lose Situation for the Buyers of Cloned Cars
A thief will sell you a cloned car for a lower price than a licensed dealer. But, you must stay away from it because of the following reasons:
1. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has warned that buyers of cloned cars can have their cars confiscated.
2. If you buy such a car, you will lose your investment.
3. If you buy a cloned car knowingly, you might get arrested.
Avoid being a Car Thief’s Second Victim
A thief has already stolen a car from an innocent individual. Do not fall prey to him/her by buying a cloned car. Here are a few tips to help you avoid being a thief’s second victim:
1. Seller Information
It is okay if you are buying a used car from a private seller. But, you must remember that a car thief will never provide you with his/her contact information and employment details. So, do not forget to ask the following details from the private seller:
>> Fixed address,
>> Phone number,
>> Place of employment, etc.
2. Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
You must ensure that the VIN is secured and intact.
Get in touch with the department of motor vehicles in the state in which the car is registered. The department will check the VIN and verify whether the car is registered under the private seller’s name.
3. Title and Registration
If the private seller is unable to provide you with title and registration, consider it as a red flag. If he/she is the real owner of the car, he/she must have title and registration documents.
Also, check that the name and address of the private seller match the details provided in the documents.
4. Lien and Insurance
Obtain information related to past lien. Also, ask the private seller about insurance. Do not forget to verify the information with the lender as well as the insurance company. If you find any discrepancy, consider it as a warning signal.
5. Car Scrutiny
A car is a big investment. And, if you lose your car, you may end up harming your financial status. So, in order to ensure absolute safety of your investment, you must scrutinize the car in the following ways:
Is the car stolen?
If you have doubts about the car, you can use the free VINCheck database available at the NICB website. It will provide you with information related to stolen cars as well as salvaged vehicles.
Is there a problem with the car?
A Vehicle History Report will reveal everything about a car. Obtain a detailed report and learn about every accident damage, recall, title problems, etc.
Call the Expert
When you are spending a large amount of money on a car, it is wise to get an expert opinion from a mechanic. Ask your trusted mechanic to give you an honest review about the car. It will help you in making a practical decision.
Caution is the Key
There is nothing wrong in buying a car from a private seller. It is a great way of buying a cheap car. But, if you want to ensure a stress-free buying process, you can go to a licensed dealer and choose your favorite car easily.