If you’re unlucky enough to have your car stolen, there’s a very good chance it will end up in what’s known as a chop shop. There it will be dismantled or chopped up and its parts will either be sold to innocent consumers or used to repair wrecked cars.
Most people will be familiar with identity theft. Criminals gain valuable sensitive information about an individual in order to impersonate them and take out loans or credit in their name. But how many drivers have heard of cloned cars? And even if the expression is familiar, how do you tell a fake, cloned car from a genuine model?
A cloned car is a model that has been stolen then given a new identity. This is generally by replacing its number plates with those from a car that’s the same make, model, colour and even age. It means that the car won’t register as dodgy in basic ID checks such as those from police Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras.
It’s a problem that more drivers need to be aware of. Last week, eBay hit the headlines after it was revealed that organised criminals in Manchester had been using the popular car buying site to sell stolen cars as legitimate vehicles.
It means that when drivers fail to conduct full and thorough checks of a used car, they can end up handing over a small fortune for a car that will be taken off their hands by the police, leaving them with no car and no money. Meanwhile, the crooks vanish into thin air.
One victim, a retired police officer, lost £17,000 buying a Mercedes. Another paid more than £18,000 for a BMW that turned out to be stolen and was soon returned to its rightful owner by police, leaving him penniless.
These are the steps every used car buyer should take to protect themselves from buying a cloned car.
Do you know who’s got your car keys? Drivers are being urged to do more to protect their cars amid increasing car crime. According to new research, nearly half of drivers (43 per cent) will happily give their car keys to a complete stranger. That is compared to just one in 10 (11 per cent) who would do the same with their house keys.
The revelations come as the police, insurance bodies and car industry launch a campaign to make car drivers more aware of security. The latest figures show that car crime increased by 8 per cent in the first three months of 2016. Further demonstrating how serious the problem could become, the number charged with interfering with a motor vehicle was up by 19 per cent over the previous 12 months. This is a crime where the accused are caught attempting to steal or break into a car.
To help owners keep their cars safe, we’ve published the authorities’ 10-point plan for improved car security. Continue reading