12.1 Helpful Ways to Avoid Buying a Stolen Vehicle
- Compare Vehicle ID numbers and license plates with the title
and registration. In other words, compare the paper documents
to make sure they match the information on the actual car.
- Confirm that the person selling you the car is the same as
the person whose name appears on the title. Require the seller
to provide you a driver’s license, or other i.d. card, to
verify they are whom they claim to be. Also if the car is owned
by a business or corporation, require evidence that the person
selling the car has the authority to do so.
- Missing titles:
- Be wary of vehicles without titles (or sold on
application for duplicate title forms). Request additional
evidence of clear title in the seller's name including:
- Previous registrations
- Repair receipts
- You can check the ownership history by doing the
- Computerized Vehicle Registration Services
(www.cvrreg.com): CVR is a computerized subscription service
that will provide you the entire ownership and registration
history of a particular vehicle – directly from
the DMV’s records. It is for dealers only. There
are several other providers of this same service, and
you should be able to find them listed on the Internet.
- CarFax.com or Vehix.com can provide you vehicle
history information such as odometer rollbacks, recalls,
salvage titles, Lemon Law branding, etc. These services
are not as comprehensive as CVR, as they do not have the
same access to DMV information as does CVR. However, these
services do not require a subscription.
- In addition, you can transact the purchase of the vehicle at
the DMV. If the seller is trying to sell you a stolen vehicle,
they will not go to the DMV with you to complete the transaction.
- Further, you can have the seller obtain a new, duplicate title
first, and then purchase the vehicle.
- It is best to avoid vehicles without titles, if possible.