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Police issue buyer beware advisory on purchasing used vehicles

RCMP have issued a buyer beware warning for people purchasing used vehicles.

The vehicles were discovered as stolen by their Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) which had sometimes been faked to obfuscate their status as stolen.

“Police investigators part of the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT) have been working on files where citizens have been purchasing used vehicles, often at reasonably good prices, and when they register their newly purchased vehicles they learn the VIN is fake and the vehicle in fact has been stolen,” reads an IMPACT press release. “The car is then repossessed and the buyer has lost their money.”

Officer in Charge of IMPACT, Eugene Lum says the stolen vehicles have been sold on secondary market sites, like Facebook Marketplace, and also at used car dealerships without dealer awareness.

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Lum says, “If a buyer is looking at a used vehicle and there are inconsistencies and unanswered questions in it’s history, paperwork or seller’s story, then they should not buy it.”

Some due diligence tips from police for buyers on the used market to ensure the safety of their transaction are as follows:

  • Ensure the VIN on the windshield and the door jamb match
  • Check the VIN on a free online tool to ensure the vehicle in the registry matches the one you are buying
  • Check the VIN on the manufacturer’s website for more information on it
  • Get a vehicle history report and pre-purchase inspection
  • Be mindful of the asking price, if the price is too good to be true, it usually is.
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