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Why Do I Need A VIN Verification For My Title?

Why VIN Verification is Required by DMV
Many times a client asks us why does the Department of Motor Vehicles or the titling Authority require a VIN verification or VIN inspection on a vehicle when they’re transferring a title. Well, here’s a good reason why.

Fraud Investigation by FDLE
This is a case that was investigated for many months and there was fraud happening on titles in the State of Florida. The FDLE, which is the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, cracked down and arrested more than 20 people that were fraudulently titling cars. What were they doing? What they were doing is they were buying vehicles from dealerships on credit or with a bad check, and before the loan defaulted or before the check bounced, what they would do is they would change the VIN number on the vehicle and they would get a fraudulent VIN number (vehicle identification number). They used that to apply for a title and transfer it to somebody else so that unsuspecting buyer was actually buying a stolen car. This operation, Gone in 60 Days, netted all these people arrested.

Expansion of the Scam
What happened was it was so popular as a scam that then they started renting vehicles from airports and other high-end areas and doing the same thing. They were changing the VIN numbers, putting a fake VIN number on, and then reselling the vehicle. Sometimes they would even sell it to an insurance company.

Purpose of VIN Inspection
So the reason for having a VIN inspection or VIN verification is to make sure that the VIN number that’s on your vehicle is actually the correct VIN number for the car. Now, you know it is—you know, are aware that it’s legitimate—but the Department of Motor Vehicles wants to make sure and protect you that you’re not actually titling an illegal vehicle or a stolen vehicle.

Protecting Innocent Buyers
If the VIN number has been tampered with, removed, altered, changed, sometimes people will buy these vehicles from Copart or IAA with junk titles or parts-only titles and slap another VIN number on from a salvage vehicle, and that’s a way to sell a car or truck to an unsuspecting innocent buyer. So they’re trying to protect the owner, meaning you, or even the next buyer from having a vehicle that’s ineligible.

Simple Process of VIN Verification
Now, it’s real simple. Usually, a notary or any local agent can inspect the VIN number. Really, all they have to do is look at the VIN number, make sure it’s the same as what’s on your title paperwork, and then also verify that that’s the actual identifier for that vehicle, that it hasn’t been tampered with, it hasn’t been altered in any kind of way.

Importance Despite Inconvenience
A VIN inspection, VIN verification is inconvenient, it’s annoying, but there’s a reason that they do it. They’re not just trying to make your life miserable and make you jump through hoops or be inconvenient. They want to make sure that that vehicle is eligible, legitimate, because once they issue that title, that’s a legal government document. They’re putting their trust and faith behind it that you are now the owner, that’s a legitimate vehicle.

One-Time Requirement
So now when you go to sell it, you can represent to your buyer everything’s legit. So it is a one-time thing. You don’t have to do it every year; you don’t have to do it every month. It’s a one-time event that you have to get a VIN verification performed to make sure that that vehicle is legitimate.

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