Car thieves use cloned VINs to steal vehicle identities - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Car thieves use cloned VINs to steal vehicle identities

SPOKANE, Wash. - Think the used car you just bought is really yours? It may have been stolen from someone else.

There's a growing scam that preys on people looking to save money on their next car and it's happening to thousands of people nationwide. 

Car buyers are purchasing used cars that look like great deals but are turning out to be real steals.

Police say the scam starts with the vehicle identification number or VIN stamped in the corner of your car's windshield.

This is your car's identity and thieves are using it to dupe innocent car buyers out of billions of dollars. It's called VIN cloning.

Here's how it works.

The thief steals a vehicle.

Let's say a Chevy Tahoe, but they know when they try to sell it to you it'll come up stolen in the system.

So they go to a public parking lot, find a car that's the same year, make and color then they write down the VIN number and make a fake sticker which makes the stolen vehicle look legit.

There's also another VIN number car scam hitting car owners.

"There's a group in Mexico that is bringing back cars with Mexican paperwork with new VIN numbers and selling them as new or used vehicles when they are stolen vehicles," said Dave Roccaforte of the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Investigators say crooks sell you these cars through classified ads in the paper and online.

Sometimes, they even trade the cars in reputable dealerships where they end up for sale.

In just the past several weeks, the FBI busted a major ring recovering more than 1,000 cloned cars, worth more than $25 million.

Here's a secret clue to see if you've bought one.

Look for sloppy errors on the sticker of your drivers door.

On one car, the words "conforms" and "standards" are misspelled; a telltale sign the car is cloned.

If you're about to buy a used car, experts say run it through a service like Carfax to get a complete history, and beware of sellers offering discounts of 50 percent or more.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Spokane neighbors shocked after dogs pepper sprayed

    Spokane neighbors shocked after dogs pepper sprayed

    Sunday, September 24 2017 9:08 PM EDT2017-09-25 01:08:37 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Two families are still left shocked after they say someone sprayed their dogs with pepper spray. This happened on Saturday night around 9 p.m. near Hays Park. Eric Eitzman says he was inside his home when he heard his dog and his neighbor’s dogs start barking. He opened the door and his dog ran inside. That’s when his daughter grabbed the dog and said she smelled.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Two families are still left shocked after they say someone sprayed their dogs with pepper spray. This happened on Saturday night around 9 p.m. near Hays Park. Eric Eitzman says he was inside his home when he heard his dog and his neighbor’s dogs start barking. He opened the door and his dog ran inside. That’s when his daughter grabbed the dog and said she smelled.

    >>
  • One killed, two injured in Highway 195 crash south of Rosalia

    One killed, two injured in Highway 195 crash south of Rosalia

    Sunday, September 24 2017 3:19 PM EDT2017-09-24 19:19:33 GMT

    ROSALIA, Wash. - Washington State Patrol reports one person is dead after a crash on Highway 195 Saturday night.  It happened around 10:30 p.m. about one mile south of Rosalia. Troopers say a 2002 Chevrolet Blazer driven by 36-year-old Joshua J.Kenyon was northbound on 195 and a 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe, driven 37-year-old Angela C. Pressnal, was headed southbound on the highway.

    >>

    ROSALIA, Wash. - Washington State Patrol reports one person is dead after a crash on Highway 195 Saturday night.  It happened around 10:30 p.m. about one mile south of Rosalia. Troopers say a 2002 Chevrolet Blazer driven by 36-year-old Joshua J.Kenyon was northbound on 195 and a 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe, driven 37-year-old Angela C. Pressnal, was headed southbound on the highway.

    >>
  • Jury: Former Spokane deputy guilty of stealing federal funds

    Jury: Former Spokane deputy guilty of stealing federal funds

    Sunday, September 24 2017 1:02 PM EDT2017-09-24 17:02:05 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A former Spokane County Sheriff's deputy has been convicted of lying to fraudulently obtain federal assistance. The Spokesman-Review reports that a jury on Friday found former Spokane County Sheriff's jailer Donald B. Henderson guilty of stealing roughly $650,000 from the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veteran Affairs for more than a decade.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A former Spokane County Sheriff's deputy has been convicted of lying to fraudulently obtain federal assistance. The Spokesman-Review reports that a jury on Friday found former Spokane County Sheriff's jailer Donald B. Henderson guilty of stealing roughly $650,000 from the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veteran Affairs for more than a decade.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/