Vehicle Identification Cloning Makes Stealing Your Car Easy
minute in the United States approximately four cars are
stolen from their rightful owners. When tracking the whereabouts
of these vehicles, auto crime theft units have happened
upon a relatively new form of identity theft, known as "VIN
Cloning" -- a scam that involves using a vehicle identification
number (VIN) from one legally owned vehicle and duplicating
it in order to sell a similar, though stolen car or truck.
luxury cars are the usual targets of this kind of theft.
Escalades, Lexus RX 300s, Z4s and BMW 5 Series are among
the models most widely reported by local detectives. According
to Carfax, more than 225,000 of the 1.5 million vehicles
stolen each year are illegally given VIN numbers of other
vehicles. VIN cloning car thieves can make an $18,000 to
$30,000 profit per vehicle.
down a cloned vehicle can be difficult as car cloners often
cross state lines when selling clones, in order to circumvent
state DMV systems. New York and New Jersey are among the
hot spots for VIN cloning, but many of these 'cloned' or
tagged vehicles are uncovered by detectives in areas like
Western Michigan, Southern California and Miami.
Cloning is truly a 'Buyer Beware' situation," commented
Marianne McInerney, president of AIADA. "A good rule
of thumb: If a deal appears too good to be true, it probably
there are things to look out for," said McInerney.
"In addition to obtaining a Carfax Vehicle History
Report, car buyers should check the vehicle's VIN with their
state bureau of motor vehicles and carefully scrutinize
the ownership pattern of any vehicle with no lien holder.
Dealers should also be watching for cloners who may try
to steal VINs from vehicles on their lots."
addition to using VIN numbers from legitimate vehicles here
in the states, Carfax found that more than 600,000 of the
more than 4.2 million vehicles exported from the U.S. over
the last ten years had activity records in the U.S. after
the exportation date, when they should no longer show any
activity. This, according to the National Insurance Crime
Bureau, resulted in an estimated $4 billion in fraud costs
for consumers and insurance companies.
this type of racketeering generally occurs away from the
dealership lot, dealers can also be scammed," added
McInerney. "If an unaware dealer purchases a VIN cloned
vehicle, he or she could be responsible for thousands of
dollars in repo charges after the police track it down as
a stolen vehicle."
is AIADA's exclusive provider of vehicle history information
on pre-owned cars and trucks. Carfax has provided its services
to AIADA members for the past three years. For more than
18 years, CARFAX has been the number one source of vehicle
history information for thousands of auto dealers across
represents the 11,000 American automobile dealerships that
sell and service international nameplate brands Acura, Aston
Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti,
Isuzu, Jaguar, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Maserati, Maybach,
Mazda, Mercedes, MINI, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Rolls
Royce, Saab, Scion, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, Volkswagen and
Volvo. Visit AIADA online at www.aiada.org.