RCMP has issued a warning after people have gone to register recently purchased used vehicles only to learn they were stolen.
Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT) have been working on a number of files where people bought vehicles, often at reasonable prices, only to learn the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is fake when trying to register.
After it is discovered the VIN is fake, the vehicle is repossessed, and the buyer has lost the money they spent on the vehicle.
“We have seen these vehicle purchases being made on secondary markets online but also at used car dealerships where the dealership is unaware until they sell the vehicle and the new owner tries to register it,” said Acting Inspector Eugene Lum, office in charge of IMPACT.
When buying used vehicles, IMPACT recommends taking a number of steps to ensure the vehicle isn’t stolen:
- There are two VINs on each vehicle, under or on the windshield, and in the driver’s door jamb. Make sure they both match.
- Look up the VIN on CARFAX Canada’s decoder to make sure it matches the vehicle you’re purchasing.
- Enter the VIN in the car manufacturer’s website to make sure it exists and that there are no recalls on the vehicle.
- Get a vehicle history report and pre-purchase inspection.
- When looking at the history report, check for inconsistencies like if the vehicle is simultaneously registered in two provinces.
- Check the VIN on the Canadian Police Information Centre to see if the vehicle has been reported as stolen to police.
- If the selling price is too good to be true, it probably is.
Police remind people to do their due diligence and take precautions when buying a used vehicle.