How To Check if a Vehicle is Stolen
A stolen vehicle search is a must when purchasing a used vehicle from an individual. There are many free resources out there where you can lookup this vehicle information, such as vehicle history reports. For example, the National Insurance Crime Bureau is a free service offered to the general public that can used online by anyone with an internet connection and a computer or smartphone. This service also lists if the vehicle has been salvaged by an insurance company and is helpful in illuminating if there is fraud when purchasing a used vehicle from an unknown individual. There are a multitude of scammers out there that use forums such as Craig’s List and other free directory services. Below are some useful tips on how to avoid being scammed when deciding on what used car to purchase.
Know If You Are Buying a Stolen Vehicle
When purchasing a used vehicle, it is always a good idea to be thorough and cautious in your search. You want to ensure that the vehicle is in good condition and is reliable. Even more importantly, you want to ensure that your prospective vehicle is not stolen.
Accidentally, purchasing a stolen vehicle can lead to a world of problems down the road. You may have trouble registering the car, it may be seized by police as evidence and eventually returned to its rightful owner, and it can potentially run up very large repair bills if things go wrong.
It is clearly in your best interests to avoid purchasing a stolen car. Luckily, there are a number of things that you can check on to confirm the legality of the vehicle that you would like to buy, such as:
Stolen Vehicle VIN Search
In the United States, every vehicle has a unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) printed on a number of different places in the vehicle. Be sure to check that the VINs match from one location to another, and run them through the DMV database to ensure that there is nothing fishy going on with the car. If you notice that the VINs look altered in any way, you may be well advised to walk away from the vehicle.
Perform a Vehicle History Report
Performing a stolen vehicle search by running a vehicle history report is a good idea before making any car purchasing decisions. This report will let you know if the car was in any reported accidents, if the title is clear, if any recalls have been issued for the car, and a whole host of other useful information. If something looks strange to you in the vehicle history report, it may be a red flag. For example, if you are buying a blue sedan from Florida, but the report states that the vehicle is a red sedan from Montana, you may want to dig a little deeper or simply walk away from the sale. A vehicle history report can also give you all the specs on the vehicle such as make, model, color, engine, transmission, suspension, etc..
Other Helpful Tips When Buying a Used Car
Before handing over any money, be sure to do a little digging on the seller. Ask if they are a local, what neighborhood they are living in, and why they are selling the vehicle. These fairly innocuous questions should give you some insight as to who you are dealing with. You might also want to ask any friends or family in the area if they happen to know the seller. The more information you have on the seller, the better.
While the risk of the average car buyer ever encountering a stolen vehicle is quite low, it is always a good idea to be as prepared as possible just in case. With the information contained in this article you will be able to ensure that your next vehicle is completely legal and above board. Don’t get scammed by purchasing a stolen vehicle, run a stolen vehicle search anonymously online.