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What should motorists know in order not to buy a stolen car?

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How to  tell if you are buying a stolen car or not

What if you recently purchased a car through a private transaction only to discover that it has been stolen? Consider the difficulties you would face, in addition to the stress of dealing with legal issues. If you ‘accidentally’ purchase a stolen car, you may be arrested and the car forfeited without compensation. Selling a stolen vehicle will only exacerbate the situation. Continue reading to learn how to ensure that the vehicle you are considering purchasing has not been stolen.

What if you recently purchased a car through a private transaction only to discover that it has been stolen? Consider the difficulties you would face, in addition to the stress of dealing with legal issues. If you ‘accidentally’ purchase a stolen car, you may be arrested and the car forfeited without compensation. Selling a stolen vehicle will only exacerbate the situation. Continue reading to learn how to ensure that the vehicle you are considering purchasing has not been stolen.

6 steps to see if the car you’re looking to buy is stolen

Follow these six steps to avoid the headache of buying a cloned car.

  1. Thoroughly examine the VIN

You can check the VIN with government agencies or the department of motor vehicles in your state (DMV). Another way to check a car’s VIN is to use the VIN check services. There are many free services that will notify you if there is any insurance record of a stolen car, including one that hasn’t yet been recovered. You can also take a look at vin lookup to find out the history of the vehicle.

Another way to verify the VIN of a vehicle is to see if the seller still has the original window sticker. You can also peer through the front windshield.

  1. Invest in a vehicle history report

Another way to determine whether a vehicle is stolen is to request a  detailed vehicle history report using the VIN.

A vehicle history report will contain information about a vehicle such as its service history, title information and liens, accident history and damage, and previous owners. The problem is that, while the report will list the number of previous owners, it will not list their names. However, if there are gaps in the history or if it is out of date, this could be a red flag that the car has been stolen.

  1. Conduct a title search for the vehicle

Searching for a car’s title can reveal useful information such as whether the vehicle is a salvage, the mileage of when the vehicle was last sold, and the name of the vehicle’s previous owner. If the person trying to sell you the car isn’t the same as the person listed on the title, you’ll know it’s a stolen vehicle.

Having access to a car’s title can also assist you in detecting any discrepancies between what the seller tells you and what’s on the title. The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System allows you to look up a vehicle’s title when you buy used cars.

  1. Request the vehicle’s service records from the seller

If the seller can show you the maintenance receipts, there’s a better chance it’s not a stolen vehicle. Check that the VINs on the receipts match the VINs on the top of the service receipts and that the names are the same.

You may also be able to determine whether the seller took the car in for scheduled maintenance from the vehicle history report, and if so, whether the maintenance receipts match.

  1. Request that your auto insurance company inspect your vehicle prior to purchase

When switching or enrolling in a new car insurance carrier, some states, and insurance companies may require an inspection of your vehicle. This usually occurs prior to the insurance company’s approval of your auto insurance policy. And, in most cases, it is only required if you are purchasing specific types of coverage, such as collision or comprehensive coverage.

  1. Have faith in your instincts

If the price appears to be too low to be true, the seller is overly eager to sell you the car and is attempting to persuade you to skip critical steps in the car-buying process; trust your instincts. If there are any discrepancies between what the seller tells you about the car and what you learn from your research, walk away.

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