How to Avoid Purchasing Stolen Vehicles
Legitimate online sale and auction sites offer buyers certain protections, including fact sheets with data on a vehicle’s provenance and the results of police checks on the vehicle identification number (VIN). Organized car theft and resale rings wash stolen vehicles’ identities by altering their VINs. Some online sales sites offer stolen vehicles, and curb-siders present themselves as legitimate used car dealers. You don’t just have to know who the seller is, you also have to know the history on that vehicle.
Sellers must provide buyers with a used-car information package, but you also have to check to make sure that it hasn’t been altered. As a backup check, using a service like Carfax, gives you details on a vehicle’s history. A buyer can also plug the VIN into an online survey application run by the Canadian Police Information Centre that will tell them if the car’s been stolen, as long as the VIN hasn’t been redone. Running the VIN online is also a good idea to see if the same vehicle is for sale in other areas.
Buyers also must be careful where they go to make a deal, especially if the seller asks for cash. Nowadays, criminals aren’t pricing stolen vehicles ultra-low because that is a red flag. They price it at fair market value, and it looks legitimate. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way, and if you’re suspicious, walk away.