Avoid Buying a Stolen Vehicle

Many stolen vehicles are sold to unsuspecting buyers. If you knowingly buy a stolen car, you can be arrested. If you buy a stolen car unknowingly, you could lose the car and your money. To avoid becoming the car thief's second victim, we urge you to keep these tips in mind:

  • When buying from a private individual, make sure the title and registration match the name and address of the person selling the car.
  • Be cautious of a seller with no fixed address, place of employment or phone number.
  • Ask the seller for references about past financing and insurance on the vehicle. Verify the information with the bank, finance company or agent.
  • Ensure the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the automobile's dash is present, secure and unaltered.
  • Check to ensure the VIN plate has not been repainted and the numbers stamped in the plate appear to be the original factory numbers.
  • If in doubt about plate authenticity, check with a new car dealer who handles the same model, or contact a law enforcement agency. (Thieves may remove the VIN plate and replace it with one from a similar wrecked vehicle.)
  • Be suspicious of any deal that seems "too good to be true."

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