Car Cloning Scam - What It Is, How to Detect
Car cloning is a type of vehicle theft where criminals steal the identity of a legitimate car by copying its license plates, VIN, and other information. They then use this information to create a fake identity for a stolen or damaged car, which can be sold to unsuspecting buyers. This is one of the most sophisticated and difficult-to-detect types of car theft, and it's becoming more prevalent in recent years.
Car cloning scams can happen anywhere, but they are most common in urban areas where the population is dense and there are many cars on the road. Criminals often target high-end vehicles or luxury cars, as they can fetch a higher price in the market. They may also target cars that are in high demand or are rare, as these are more difficult to trace.
In the process, fake VIN plates are created, a fake VIN is etched or the origina VIN is altered on a vehicle of a mathcing make and model. This may be done with the purpose to sell a stolen or severely damaged vehicle through creating a new identity for it. The worst thing about this type of scam is that even VIN check may be helpless for it will return the history of another, clean vehicle.
To avoid falling victim to a car cloning scam, there are a few things you can do.
Inspect the VIN or VIN plate carefully, make sure it has no signs of welding, filing, scratches or other signs of forgery
Organize a small "identification parade". Get a detailed VIN history, like from CARFAX or Autocheck, ask the seller quiestions and mach them with the VIN history.
Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true, for instance, cars is being sold for significantly less than the market value and having an impeccable long VIN history with service records etc.
be suspicious of sellers who insist on cash payments or refuse to provide documentation for the car.
Finally, if you suspect that a car may be a clone, contact the police immediately. They can investigate the matter and help you determine if the car is legitimate or not.
Inspect the car: Before buying a car, inspect it thoroughly for signs of tampering, such as mismatched paintwork, altered chassis numbers, or broken seals. If anything seems suspicious, walk away.
If the VIN check result says something like Invalid or Wrong VIN or a popuar model, the VIN might have been altered and did not pass validity check.
By being vigilant and taking the necessary precautions, you can protect yourself from falling victim to a car cloning scam. Always verify the VIN number, be wary of suspicious deals, and don't hesitate to contact law enforcement if you suspect something is not right.
License Plate / Registration Number Cloning
If you become a victim of license plate cloning, you may face serious consequences. For example, you may receive tickets for traffic violations you did not commit, or worse, be wrongfully accused of a crime that the perpetrator committed using your cloned license plate.
To make matters worse, it can be difficult to prove that you are the victim of a license plate cloning scam. You may need to provide evidence such as receipts, surveillance footage, or eyewitness testimony to establish that you were not involved in the crime.
If you suspect that your license plate has been cloned, it is important to contact law enforcement immediately. They can work to track down the perpetrator and clear your name. You may also need to obtain a new license plate and update your vehicle registration information to avoid further incidents.