5 tips to help consumers protect themselves
WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–For many consumers, buying a car can be stressful because of all the
decisions involved in the process. You need to think about the price
range, safety ratings, make and model, gas or electric or hybrid, and
Because it’s even more daunting when shopping for a quality used car,
GEICO is offering key guidelines for consumers to consider before they
But first there are a few things you need to understand about VIN
numbers – vehicle identification numbers. Every car is built with its
own unique VIN number stamped in metal somewhere on the frame.
These distinctive numbers can be fraudulently changed – either on the
vehicle or on paper documents – to hide the fact that the car has been
This method of selling stolen cars to unsuspecting consumers is known as
VIN fraud, or car cloning. It is extremely hard to detect.
GEICO recommends you keep these five things in mind to avoid becoming a
victim of VIN fraud:
Select a reputable car dealer – Read dealer reviews, check with
the Better Business Bureau, or get personal referrals from friends and
family to help choose a seller you can trust.
Have a certified mechanic inspect the vehicle prior to purchasing
– Examine the VIN plate for signs it may have been tampered with.
Inspect all title and ownership documents –Conduct a title
search to confirm ownership. The Federal Government’s National Motor
Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) can be used to access title
documents and other important vehicle information. Be sure the
seller’s information matches that listed on the title. Confirm the VIN
found on the car is consistent with all documents and records as well.
Get a detailed used car history report – Verify car history,
past ownership, accident history, liens, maintenance and flood damage.
Before purchasing a car, be aware of its full history to help you make
a more informed decision. Car history reports can also be obtained
from NMVTIS or online sources such as carfax.com.
Perform a VIN check – Visit the National Insurance Crime Bureau
website to access the VIN check feature. This tool can help determine
if a vehicle has been reported stolen or salvaged.
Information Center for more car buying tips.
(Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire
Hathaway family of companies and is the second-largest private passenger
auto insurance company in the United States.