Used car scams: car cloning

An increasingly common scam is the theft of a vehicle’s identity; it’s called cloning, it works very simply and it’s very easy to get caught out by it.

Cloning works by thieves stealing a car and giving it the identity of a legitimate vehicle. Although the car you’re looking at is stolen, you don’t know its real identity because you’re checking the identity of a different vehicle. 

Cloning works by thieves stealing a car and giving it the identity of a legitimate vehicle

This is why it’s so important to stick to all the advice in our buying used pages – that way you shouldn’t come unstuck. The best way of ensuring you’re not caught out is to: 

  • Ensure the car’s chassis number matches the one on the registration document.
  • Always pay by bankers draft rather than cash; a legitimate seller will be happy with this, but car thieves won’t be.
  • Inspect the car at a privately owned residential address – and make sure the seller isn’t just using the drive of a house whose owners are away. Also ensure that this is the address shown on the registration document.
  • Get a land line number for the seller – never rely entirely on a mobile number.