If a potential buyer is interested in purchasing your vehicle, they will want to know all the information about the car. That means the specifics of the car, vehicle history, accident history, and anything that can help the car buyers make an informed decision. One piece of information a potential buyer may request is the vehicle’s VIN number. But is giving out your VIN number to prospective buyers dangerous? This article will tell you everything you need to know about a car’s VIN, the potential dangers of sharing your VIN, and how you can protect yourself when selling your vehicle.
First of all, is it safe to share the VIN number of your automobile? Yes, it is considered safe to share a vehicle’s identification number, but that doesn’t mean you should be careless with who you share it. Sharing your VIN number is safe, but like with your social security number, be careful about who you give it to. It’s not like anyone will be able to steal your car’s identity or take out a loan in its name, but still be careful and keep it safe.
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What Is VIN Cloning?
VIN cloning is when a criminal uses your vehicle’s identification number and uses it on a different vehicle that is the same make, model, and year. With the VIN cloned, a criminal can change the documentation of the stolen vehicle, masking it so they can acquire a legitimate license plate and vehicle registration. Here is how criminals pretending to be car buyers can run this scam by you simply giving out your VIN:
How A Criminal Uses A Cloned VIN For A Stolen Vehicle – 3 Steps
- The criminal pretends to be a potential buyer, checking the VIN of your car
- They record your car’s VIN and use it for a stolen vehicle with the same make and model
- The cloned VIN allows them to get a license plate and vehicle registration on the stolen car without the original car owners’ ever knowing a thing
VIN cloning is illegal and according to Vehicle Code 10802 VC – Tampering With a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), in California, you can be charged with a felony for tampering with a VIN. This can result in a $25,000 fine and up to 3 years in county jail. You can learn more about the law enforcement penalties for creating a cloned VIN by CLICKING HERE!
Vehicle Identification Number Plate Theft
There is one more way criminals engage in VIN cloning, and this is when they take the VIN plate off your car and weld it to the stolen vehicle with the identical make and model.
Worried you might have a stolen automobile and are the victim of cloned VIN purchase? Then use this helpful VIN check tool by the National Insurance Crime Bureau by CLICKING HERE!
How To Protect Yourself From VIN Cloning
If you are buying a vehicle, make sure all information about the car matches the documentation. Check VIN details on the paperwork as well as on the vehicle. This can be found near the base of the windshield and the inside of the door frame. If anything does not match up and the seller won’t answer your questions consider that a giant red flag. This is not a laughing matter because if the VIN information on the vehicle registration and on the automobile don’t match correctly you could be implicated in a car theft – assuming this is a stolen car. That means law enforcement can take the vehicle away and leave you with nothing!
Cloning VIN numbers is something that happens but shouldn’t be a major concern for any seller. The best practice is to keep all the vehicle’s documentation readily available and make sure you have the car title in case you have any issues registering the automobile with the DMV. There is no danger of giving a potential buyer the VIN number, but if you have a bad gut feeling, simply consider meeting the buyer in person.
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Should Buyers Ask Car Sellers For A VIN Number?
You should absolutely ask for a car’s VIN number so you can be sure you are buying a registered vehicle. If the seller or auto dealer won’t provide this and is car selling, they are likely hiding something. The information it contains is the automobiles car’s unique features, specs, and who the manufacturer is. This can be helpful if there is a warranty, recall, or registration issue.
The VIN number does not contain personal information, car selling history, vehicle accident history, the car’s history of purchase, or other information that is found in a CarFax report.
Sage is a freelance writer with a background in information technology.