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Why Do I Need A VIN Verification For My Title?

Many times, clients question why the Department of Motor Vehicles or the titling authority mandates a VIN verification or VIN inspection when transferring a vehicle title. The significance behind this requirement becomes evident through a case that was thoroughly investigated in the State of Florida.

Unveiling a Fraudulent Operation
In this case, fraudulent activities involving vehicle titles were rampant, prompting the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to take action. Over the course of several months, the FDLE cracked down on a scheme where more than 20 individuals were fraudulently titling cars. The perpetrators were purchasing vehicles from dealerships using credit or bad checks, changing the VIN numbers before loan defaults or bounced checks occurred, and then applying for titles with these fraudulent VINs.

A Stolen Car Scam
The fraudulent VINs were used to transfer the titles to unsuspecting buyers, essentially selling stolen cars. This operation, known as “Gone in 60 Days,” not only resulted in numerous arrests but also revealed the extent of the scam. As the fraudsters found success, they expanded their operations to include renting vehicles from airports and high-end areas, perpetuating the same scheme with altered VIN numbers.

Protecting Vehicle Owners
The primary reason for implementing VIN inspections or VIN verifications is to ensure that the VIN number on a vehicle corresponds to the correct identifier for that car. The Department of Motor Vehicles aims to protect vehicle owners from unwittingly titling an illegal or stolen vehicle. Tampering with, removing, altering, or changing the VIN number is a common practice, especially for vehicles with junk titles or parts-only titles purchased from salvage auctions.

The Role of a VIN Inspection
Although inconvenient and sometimes annoying, a VIN inspection or VIN verification is a necessary step. This process involves a notary or local agent inspecting the VIN number, comparing it to the information on the title paperwork, and ensuring that it has not been tampered with or altered. The inconvenience serves a purpose in safeguarding the owner and future buyers from acquiring ineligible or stolen vehicles.

The Reason Behind the Inconvenience
While the inconvenience of a VIN inspection may be frustrating, it is crucial to understand that it is not intended to make life difficult. The goal is to guarantee the legitimacy and eligibility of the vehicle. Once the Department of Motor Vehicles issues a title, it becomes a legal government document, and they want to ensure that the new owner is acquiring a legitimate vehicle. The one-time VIN verification process is a small inconvenience to establish the vehicle’s authenticity, providing peace of mind to both current and future owners.

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