VIN cloning or car cloning is one of the most common car selling frauds these days. The scam involves thefts of both a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and an automobile. The scammers usually steal a clean VIN with no damage history on it and they also steal a luxurious late-model vehicle.
The VINs stolen are also of late-model vehicles. With such VINs the scammers will be able to sell the vehicles at high prices to unsuspecting car shoppers. VINs may be found on the engine, drivers side door jamb, or on the dashboard. Often, scammers go to a dealership pretending to be a common car shopper. They then ask for the VIN of the vehicle like usual car shoppers do.
As soon as they get the VIN, the scammers steal a vehicle with similar characteristics. Then they falsify vehicle documents and make them look real-like. Thus, as a result of a double-theft quite a new vehicle appears. Most often, the scammers register the stolen vehicle in a new state, as they know that states do not usually exchange information connected with the stolen vehicles.
VIN cloning has become a usually practice for some people. More and more vehicles are being stolen and resold as a result of this illegal practice.
To be able to avoid VIN cloning one ought to:
Be careful when seeing a late-model vehicle at a surprisingly low price being sold hastily either by a dealer or a private seller
Compare the VIN on the vehicles engine or the dashboard with the VIN that is indicated in the car documents
Examine the vehicles title, registration data and other details
See whether the vehicle has traveled several states (this is a red light, never buy a car that has been registered in several different states)
Perform a vehicle history check using some online tools like CarFax or Autochek
Always make sure you know the name, phone number and other relevant information about the person you are buying your vehicle from. This information may help your lawyer find out who has sold you the stolen vehicle.