Stolen Title Vehicle Title Sold By Car Dealer

  • June 17, 2023
  • 3 min read

The process of buying or selling a vehicle involves various checks and verifications, and one crucial aspect is the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) check. However, recent events highlight the limitations of relying solely on VIN checker sites for a comprehensive assessment of a vehicle’s history.

The Stolen Car Saga

In a peculiar incident, a woman discovered her stolen vehicle being sold by a dealership after the thief forged the title found inside the car. The theft was promptly reported to the police and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). However, when the dealership performed a basic VIN check through popular online platforms, it failed to flag the vehicle as stolen.

The critical detail here is that the police department had recorded the stolen status in the National Crime Information Computer (NCIC), but this information didn’t make its way to the consumer-grade vehicle reporting systems used by most VIN checker sites. Consequently, the dealership remained oblivious to the stolen status, leading to the sale of the vehicle.

Lessons Learned

  1. Secure Your Title:
    • Lesson: Never leave your vehicle title inside the car. It can be a crucial document in the wrong hands, facilitating forgery and potential fraud.
  2. Verify VIN Directly with Police:
    • Lesson: When purchasing a vehicle, don’t solely rely on online VIN checker sites. Visit the local police department with the VIN and your photo ID to ensure the vehicle’s legitimacy.
  3. Title Handover at Sale:
    • Lesson: Always insist on being handed the title at the time of sale. This ensures a more transparent and secure transaction.
  4. Check All Sources for Vehicle History:
    • Lesson: VIN checks should not be limited to online platforms. Consult both police records and DMV databases to obtain a comprehensive vehicle history.
  5. Beware of Duplicate Titles:
    • Lesson: If handed a title at the time of sale, verify its authenticity. Some unscrupulous sellers might use duplicate titles for malicious purposes, such as obtaining car title loans, leaving the buyer in a precarious situation.

A Multi-Layered Approach to Vehicle Verification

The incident underscores the importance of adopting a multi-layered approach when verifying the history of a vehicle. While online VIN checkers offer convenience, they may not provide an exhaustive picture of a car’s past. Relying on police records and direct interactions with relevant authorities ensures a more robust and secure transaction. Remember, when it comes to buying or selling a vehicle, thorough diligence is the key to avoiding unexpected and costly surprises.

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