Specific Auto Problems

Types of Used Car Fraud

Posted by Howard Gutman | Jun 01, 2023 | 0 Comments

When it comes to used car fraud, there are several common types of scams and fraudulent practices that consumers should be aware of. These include:

  1. Odometer Fraud: This occurs when the seller manipulates the mileage reading on a vehicle to make it appear less driven and more valuable than it actually is. Odometer fraud is illegal and can deceive buyers into paying more for a vehicle with higher mileage or experiencing unexpected mechanical issues.
  2. Title Washing: Title washing involves altering or removing information from a vehicle's title to hide its true history, such as salvaged or flood-damaged status. By obtaining a clean title, fraudsters can sell the car without disclosing its past issues, potentially putting the buyer at risk.
  3. VIN Cloning: In this scam, criminals take the vehicle identification number (VIN) from a legitimate vehicle and place it on a stolen or salvaged car, making it appear as if the vehicle has a clean history. This fraudulent practice allows criminals to sell stolen or damaged vehicles to unsuspecting buyers.
  4. Salvage Fraud: Some unscrupulous sellers may try to sell salvaged or rebuilt vehicles without disclosing their true condition. Salvage fraud involves concealing the fact that the car has been severely damaged, typically through an accident, fire, or flood, and subsequently declared a total loss by an insurance company.
  5. Hidden Mechanical Issues: Dishonest sellers may intentionally conceal or downplay significant mechanical problems in a used car. This can involve tampering with the vehicle, temporarily masking issues, or providing false maintenance records. Buyers may discover these problems only after purchasing the vehicle, leading to costly repairs and safety concerns.
  6. Deferred Down Payment Scam: This scam targets buyers with poor credit or financial difficulties. The seller promises to finance the vehicle with a deferred down payment, but later informs the buyer that the financing fell through. The seller then demands a higher down payment or higher interest rates, putting the buyer in a difficult position.
  7. Fake Escrow Services: Scammers may pose as legitimate online escrow services, claiming to protect the buyer's funds until the transaction is completed. However, the escrow service is fake, and the buyer ends up sending money to the fraudster without receiving the vehicle.

To protect yourself from used car fraud, it's essential to conduct thorough research on the vehicle's history, have a trusted mechanic inspect it, review all documents carefully, and be cautious when dealing with unfamiliar sellers or suspiciously low-priced vehicles.

About the Author

Howard Gutman

Hiring an attorney can be a stressful and confusing situation.  You want an expert, honest, personal approach to your case.  The Law Office of Howard Gutman has been fighting for consumer rights and representing commercial interests for over 20 years.  We have a deep knowledge of fraud, consumer,...


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