One of the latest scams gaining ground sees bad guys stealing cars and then re-selling the cars with “cloned” VINs. I’ve seen a few of these cases and have heard of even more.

What’s a bad guy to do with a stolen car? They’re hard enough to offload, being “hot” and all. More and more, the thief finds a Vehicle Identification Number of a similar car in another state and then places a new VIN tag on the stolen car with the other car’s VIN. A few fake documents later and - voila! - a saleable car.

The FBI says this is on the rise and - as I have noted - I have had clients in my office with this problem.

It can also hurt the person whose VIN was used to make the clone. Reports have popped up of people having trouble selling their car because Carfax and others have gotten confused by the two similar VINs. Example: innocent owner in one state can’t sell his car because Carfax reports multiple accidents on the car - having gotten the info for the clone instead.

So, I explain it all in this week’s podcast. And I also explain why “VIN number” is acceptable in conversation.

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The audio:

And the video:

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Steve Lehto has been practicing law for 24 years, almost exclusively in consumer protection and Michigan lemon law. He wrote The Lemon Law Bible and Chrysler’s Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit’s Coolest Creation.

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