The Arizona Department of Transportation urges consumers to be aware of title fraud when purchasing used vehicles.
In Late May, a robbery suspect at a business in Phoenix took 1,300 blank vehicle titles. ADOT's Office of Inspector General notes that blank titles provide opportunities for fraud.
“Title fraud is a common way to cheat buyers out of their hard-earned money,” Michael Lockhart, chief of ADOT’s Office of Inspector General, said. “However, detectives in our Office of Inspector General have highly trained skills in investigating this type of vehicle fraud.”
The Office of Inspector General maintains a list of serial numbers of stolen titles and shares it with law enforcement agencies, MVD offices and third-party automotive retailers..
ADOT offers these tips for preventing fraud:
- Conduct the transaction at an MVD office or authorized third-party business that can run the vehicle identification number to verify ownership of the vehicle.
- Ask questions. There are no stupid questions when it comes to important purchases.
- Ask for identification of the seller and ask for vehicle maintenance records.
- Check the VIN on the inside of the driver’s door frame and on the dashboard to ensure sure they match. Make sure neither VIN looks damaged, altered or replaced.