posted 4 years ago

How To Avoid Buying Cloned Cars

Car cloning is the motoring equivalent of identity fraud.

Car cloning is the motoring equivalent of identity fraud. In simple terms, crooks steal a vehicle then replace its identity with one from a similar car. This involves changing the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the V5/logbook. As such, HPI – who enable buyers to check vehicle histories – has some tips to minimise the risk of buying a cloned car:

Always check the provenance/history of the car, and make sure you view it at the registered keepers address (as shown on the V5/logbook). Buyers should ensure all the VIN/chassis numbers on the vehicle match each other and then use the HPI Check to ensure they tally with the details as recorded with the DVLA.

Know the car’s market value. If you are paying less than 70% of the market price for a vehicle, then be on your guard. No seller will want to lose money on their sale. In one case an HPI customer paid £11,000 cash for a vehicle HPI valued at £21,000. There is rarely such a thing as a bargain and in this case the car was later proven to be a clone.

Don’t pay with a substantial amount of cash, particularly if the car is costing you more than £3,000. Some cloners will take a bankers draft as part payment, because the cash part is sufficient profit without ever cashing the bankers draft. Most crooks selling cloned cars would rather walk away from a sale than take a payment that could be traced back to them. Despite strong advice to buyers to pay via the banking system, HPI still hears of many buyers who go on to pay in cash and subsequently find out that the car is a clone, and that they’ve lost both their money and the vehicle.

Check the vehicle’s V5/logbook. Stolen V5 documents are still being used to accompany cloned vehicles, despite the new issue of the updated red and blue V5 document. As an added security measure, the HPI Check continues to include a unique stolen V5 document check as standard. This will confirm whether or not the document is one that the DVLA have recorded as stolen.