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."