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Fake VIN Numbers Put On Vehicles

The Importance of VIN Verification
Here’s another way that scammers can sell you a bad vehicle, even if you do your due diligence and check out the VIN number. But it’s also a reason why DMVs sometimes require Vin verifications or inspections—it’s to protect you, not just to give you a hard time.

A Case in Texas
Here’s a case where a person in Texas purchased a vehicle. They checked out the VIN number, ran a background check, did a VIN search and VIN history report, and everything looked okay. But as they found out, the VIN number they were looking at wasn’t the real VIN number for the vehicle. There was a replacement VIN number that was improperly put over the real VIN number.

Multiple VIN locations
On a vehicle, there are at least eight or nine VIN numbers. There’s one on the cow on the dashboard, many on the frame, some hidden, some on the doorpost, some on the inside of the B pillar, etc. They’re all supposed to match. Many times, people just look at the one on the cowl by the dash, but there’s other VIN numbers. A person trying to conceal a vehicle will normally only change the one on the dash because that’s what’s looked at. There’s even some that are hidden that nobody knows about except for police officers. If a car’s stolen and somebody hides all the visible ones, they know where to look to find the hidden ones.

Verifying the VIN number
The OBD plugin for the diagnosis of a vehicle also shows the VIN number, so you want to check that to make sure the computer matches. Otherwise, you could buy a vehicle that you think has a certain VIN number, and really, it’s a stolen car, or even if it’s not stolen, it could be one that’s salvage or parts only or for export only, which means you can’t title it.

Legal Implications of VIN Tampering
Remember, it’s illegal to move VIN numbers from one vehicle to another. So, if you have a vehicle for which, for some reason, the VIN number is no good because it’s salvage or parts only, don’t think you can just get another VIN number and slap it on there. There are very serious federal statutes about VIN tampering that make that a big no-no.

Using Consumer Resources
If you have questions about how to make sure your vehicle has a proper VIN or if the history of that vehicle is eligible for a title, make sure you use our website as a free consumer resource. We’d be glad to provide help and assistance to improve your odds of getting the right kind of vehicle.

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