Stolen Cars For Sale on Craigslist

By: Hannah Saunders Email
By: Hannah Saunders Email

He's bought plenty of cars before: "I check the oil, the transmission fluids, and make sure it's a good sound car."

But this man, who wants to be anonymous, did not make sure the VIN on his paperwork matched the VIN on the Honda Civic he bought two months ago: "If we would've went to Secretary of State, that would've come up, and I would not be out my money."

An easy mistake to make according to Detective Sargent Kyle McPhee with the Michigan State Police, who's starting to see a spike in cases just like this.

"These vehicles are being sold to innocent, unwitting purchasers. They're coming with either no titles at all, or fraudulent titles."

Every time, the VINs are either scratched off, or replaced with a fake. "By the time, unfortunately the Secretary of State gets the paperwork, the transaction has already taken place."

Police then have to take the vehicles and give them back to the insurance companies, leaving the victims with empty wallets and no car.

So how can you make sure this doesn't happen to you?

"A, is there a title? And B, are you being asked to meet in a parking lot somewhere?"

Also, be leery if the seller is demanding cash only, and asking to meet after business hours when you won't have time to stop by Secretary of State.

"You might wanna test this individual an ask them if they'd rather do the transaction in the parking lot of a police station of the Secretary of State's office."

Thieves are also pulling this scam with motorcycles and four-wheelers. Police tell us, the lighter the vehicle is, the easier it is to steal, and re-sell it to you.

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  • by Name Location: Location on Oct 8, 2012 at 05:49 AM
    Matt, then why not ask for a cashier's check instead?
  • by matt Location: lansing on Oct 5, 2012 at 04:34 PM
    I would never consider a check. Too many scams I sell a lot of cars, no I'm not a dealer. Every time I have ever accepted a check it was a hassle. the only good point of this artical is check the Vin you could even compare the title to the persons driver license. Its stupid for the seller to take anything but cash.
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