Don’t get burned by these thieves!
It’s 2023 and not only do you have to worry about having your ride stolen by thieves, you also have to worry about rampant reselling of stolen vehicles. That’s right, car shopping is becoming more adventurous as you not only have to worry the ride you’re checking out might have been flooded but it might also have been stolen, a trend that’s increasing. This is why the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office is working to build public awareness of how to guard against buying a stolen vehicle.
Learn about a North Carolina dealership heist here.
While the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office specifically mentions newer GM trucks in its warning about buying stolen vehicles, the fact is any car, truck, or SUV you’re looking at could be stolen. After all, it’s not like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or any other online platform is policing for sellers pushing hot products.
One possible sign you’re dealing with a stolen vehicle is if the seller meets at a public location and only wants to deal in cash. We wouldn’t recommend carrying $20,000 or any large quantity in cash for fear of a robbery, so bringing a certified check and meeting at your bank so the seller knows it’s good is reasonable. Anyone who doesn’t want to leave a paper trail for the monetary exchange is probably hiding something.
Examine the VIN tags on a car, namely on the dash and driver’s door jamb. If the tags are bent at all, have mismatched screws, etc. they might have been swapped. There are many VIN check tools online, including the free National Insurance Crime Bureau VINCheck Lookup.
Request to see the title and inspect it for any misspellings or obvious alterations. Also, make sure the VIN on the title matches the one on the car.
If you’re shopping for a car on social media, check out the seller’s account. People selling stolen vehicles will often use burner accounts that aren’t very old, closing them often and creating new ones.
It’s also a good idea to meet a seller in a spot where everything is recorded. Many cities encourage citizens to perform online sales transactions in their parking lots where cameras and officers are plentiful.
If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Someone who stole a car or purchased a stolen vehicle from the thief doesn’t need to make much since it’s pretty much all profit. While there are legitimate good deals out there, if you see any other indications something’s not right, trust your gut.
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