CARFAX, a provider of the vehicle history report, is warning the public about a type of automobile fraud that reportedly involves both a stolen vehicle and a stolen identity – a vehicle’s identity, that is.
The scam, called “VIN Cloning,” involves using a vehicle identification number (VIN) from one vehicle to mask the true identity of the stolen vehicle. These stolen vehicles then end up in the hands of unsuspecting consumers.
Statistics just released by the FBI in their 2002 Uniform Crime Report indicate that last year was the third consecutive year that the vehicle theft rate increased. The agency’s “Crime Clock” reveals that, based on those numbers, a vehicle is stolen every 25.3 seconds in the U.S. This translates into an estimated 1.2-million vehicles stolen with an approximate value of $8.4 billion.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the 10 most commonly stolen vehicles are: 1. Toyota Camry 6. Chevrolet Full Size C/K Pickup2. Honda Accord 7. Toyota Corolla3. Honda Civic 8. Ford Taurus4. Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme/Ciera 9. Chevrolet Caprice5. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee 10. Ford F150 Pickup
According to CARFAX (www.carfax.com), there are steps used car shoppers can take to avoid “cloned” vehicles. Scott Fredericks, vice president of CARFAX, recommended that consumers start by checking the VIN on the vehicle’s dashboard against the title documents.
“You should also match that number in other places on the vehicle including under the hood and the door jamb on the driver’s side,” said Fredericks. “Make sure it matches in all three spots.”
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