New used-car scam targets buyers in Oakville, Milton, Burlington, Halton Hills
For the past couple of months, Halton police’s Regional Auto Theft Task Force has been investigating a network of “re-vinned” vehicles circulating Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills.
“Re-vinning” is the act of changing the vehicle identification number (VIN) of a stolen vehicle to a fraudulently fabricated number, concealing the fact the vehicle is stolen.
The task force has recovered 18 “re-vinned” vehicles that were sold to unsuspecting buyers as legitimate. Police are warning the public to practice due diligence when purchasing a pre-owned vehicle, specifically through private sale.
Here are some tips police offer to protect yourself from fraud:
- Confirm the seller’s identity. Check the individual’s identification and proof of ownership.
- Avoid cash purchases. Issue a cheque to the registered owner.
- Get the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic or manufacturer’s dealership before purchase. A “re-vinned” vehicle can be detected through inspection programs.
- Do your research. Order a vehicle history report before purchasing.
- Don’t avoid taxes. Request a receipt that includes the seller’s information.
- Carefully review the Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) – the seller must provide it. Ensure all pages are provided.
- Ask questions. How long was the vehicle owned? Are there maintenance records? Why are you selling?
- Do not let anyone else register the vehicle for you.
- Consider the price. If the deal is too good to be true. It probably is.
Anyone with information regarding possible “re-vinned” vehicles is asked to contact the Regional Auto Theft Task Force at 905-825-4777, ext. 3407.
Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or at the website.