Buying a new or used vehicle is an exciting process but requires attention to detail. Allow yourself the opportunity to visually inspect, test drive, and/or have a third-party mechanic look at it. Above all, remember that car scams are not easy to stop sometimes, even at a dealership. One Chicago couple found out the hard way, and now they are out $9000 after a car scam. C
According to ABC Eyewitness News, the couple spent $24,000 in total on a 2016 Chevy Malibu at a dealership in Frankfort. Unfortunately, the vehicle they bought was a stolen vehicle, which the dealership owner nor the couple knew. Eventually, police pulled the couple over because the car was reported stolen. Meanwhile, the couple tried to explain they just bought the car. So what happened?
As stated in ABC’s article, fraudsters originally bought the vehicle using fake IDs and acquired credit lines. They proceeded to not make payments, so the bank reported the vehicle stolen and put a lien on it. The fraudsters then made a fake “release of lien” and fooled the bank and dealership
So, that’s where the couple purchased the stolen vehicle unknowingly, from a dealer who apparently had no idea either. Sec. of State’s office has released statements, according to ABC Eyewitness News, stating their system does not catch every instance of stolen vehicles being sold by the dealer, but rather stops about 90% of them.
Fortunately, the dealership gave the couple a partial refund for their loss. The refund amounted to $15,000, while the dealership’s insurance covered their loss.
A few key takeaways
- There is a publicly accessible site: the National Insurance Crime Bureau database
- The site allows users to see if a car was stolen recently
- There are no laws requiring dealers to check the site before selling or buying a vehicle
Although this situation is rare, car scams happen. Since there are no laws requiring dealerships to check if the car has been reported stolen, the prevention falls on the consumer. Use the database before purchasing vehicles, and never drive without insurance.