Is your car a clone?

Is your car a clone?

We've heard of cloning sheep and even talk of cloning people, but cars?

As our economy is pushing many a family budget to the limit there are more used vehicles being purchased. Whenever there is a trend you will find that illegal activity will eventually focus on that trend.

The Better Business Bureau warns that there are stolen cars out there on the market that have been "cloned". This is done by using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for selling these stolen autos.

The VIN cloning is less then 25% of the stolen vehicles but it could happen to you. Then you find the police claiming back your vehicle for the rightful owner. You have paid out your hard-earned money and you don't have a vehicle to drive. You have no way to get your money back. It is gone.

These stolen vehicles can have a new VIN plate attached to the vehicle. Sometimes the documentation is counterfeit. Where do you buy these vehicles? It can be in a classified ad, an auction or even a used car lot.

The Better Business Bureau recommends that you take these steps to reduce the risk of purchasing a cloned vehicle:

  • If the price looks too good to be true then be very cautious. You should have an idea of what market prices is and a red flag should go up if it is significantly less.
  • Be leery of someone needing cash right away and not wanting to give you the time to check the vehicle's history. Do not be pushed.
  • There are three places to check the VIN - inside the door, on the dashboard and under the hood. Make sure they all match. Look at the vehicle's registration paperwork.
  • The government does not usually allow spelling errors. Check the title, registration and any other paperwork for typograhical errors and spelling mistakes. These should not exist on a valid document.
  • Check the VIN at your local registry for the vehicle history. It costs a small amount but is better to pay now then lose all that you pay for the vehicle.
  • If you have reason to believe that the car you have purchased is a clone then contact your civil authority. Once clue might be receiving a notice of unpaid parking tickets.