Cloned Vehicles

A cloned vehicle is a stolen vehicle with counterfeit documents.

This scheme is pulled off by copying a vehicle identification number (VIN) from a legally owned vehicle to create fake documents and tags for a stolen one.

A car similar in make and model is then stolen and the counterfeit VIN is applied thereby "cloning" the legitimate vehicle. Now the vehicle is hard to detect as stolen and can be sold as if it were the real thing.

Cloning is highly profitable because thieves can sell vehicles across state and international borders and state-licensing agencies don't typically check out-of-state paperwork for duplicate ownership. Moreover, it is easy to insure the same VIN in multiple states.

Cloned vehicle fraud can be spotted in a number of ways:

  • The vehicle was purchased with Canadian documents
  • The purchase price was unusually low or the VIN doesn't match
  • The vehicle is new and has no lien holder
  • The speedometer displays kilometers per hour

You can also enlist the help of a licensed expert or perhaps your insurance company to inspect the vehicle. They will best be able to determine if you have a cloned vehicle on your hands. If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of a vehicle you are buying, trust your instinct and walk away.