GEICO Consumer Fraud Alert: 5 Tips to Help Used Car Shoppers Guard Against VIN Fraud

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Buying a quality used vehicle is stressful enough because of all the
decisions involved in the process. You’re balancing pricing, safety,
make and model, gas or electric hybrid, and financing. It’s an even more
daunting task when unsuspected fraud is involved.

GEICO offers five key guidelines for consumers to consider before they
buy that previously—owned vehicle.

Before that there’s the golden rule when buying a used car: make sure
you know the VIN number is legitimate. It’s possible that the seller may
be trying to hide the fact that the car has been stolen, in an accident
or damaged by flood and sold for salvage.

GEICO reminds drivers there are some important things you need to
understand about VIN numbers—vehicle identification numbers. Every car
is built with its own unique VIN number stamped in metal somewhere on
the frame, riveted to the dash or stickered on the door or jamb.

These distinctive numbers can be fraudulently changed—either on the
vehicle or on paper documents. This is VIN fraud and consumers should
keep these five things in mind to avoid becoming a victim of VIN fraud:

  1. Select a reputable car dealer — Read dealer reviews, check with
    the Better Business Bureau, or get personal referrals from friends and
    family to help choose a seller you can trust.
  2. Perform a VIN check—Visit the National
    Insurance Crime Bureau
    website to access the VIN check feature.
    This tool can help determine if a vehicle has been reported stolen or
  3. Get a detailed used car history report — Verify the car
    history, past ownership, accident history, liens, maintenance and
    flood damage. Before purchasing a car, be aware of its full history to
    help you make a more informed decision. Car history reports can also
    be obtained from the federal government’s National
    Motor Vehicle Title Information System
    (NMVTIS) or online sources
    such as
  4. Have a certified mechanic inspect the vehicle prior to purchasing
    — Examine the VIN plate for signs it may have been tampered with.
  5. Inspect all title and ownership documents—Conduct a title
    search to confirm ownership. The NMVTIS can be used to access title
    documents and other important vehicle information. Be sure the
    seller’s information matches that listed on the title. Confirm the VIN
    found on the car is consistent with all documents and records as well.

GEICO policyholders who suspect they may have been a victim of fraud
should call the GEICO
(1-800-824-5404 ext. 3313) to report the crime.

Visit GEICO’s
Information Center
for more car buying tips.

(Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire
Hathaway family of companies and is the second-largest private passenger
auto insurance company in the United States. GEICO, which was founded in
1936, provides millions of auto
insurance quotes
to U.S. drivers annually. The company is pleased to
serve more than 15 million private passenger customers, insuring more
than 24 million vehicles (auto & cycle).

Using GEICO’s online
service center
, policyholders can purchase policies, make policy
changes, report claims and print insurance ID cards. Policyholders can
also connect to GEICO through the GEICO
, reach a representative over
the phone
or visit a GEICO
local agent

GEICO also provides insurance quotes on motorcycles,
all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), boats, travel trailers and motorhomes
(RVs). Coverage for life, homes and apartments is written by
non-affiliated insurance companies and is secured through the GEICO
Insurance Agency, Inc. Commercial auto insurance and personal umbrella
protection are also available.

For more information, go to


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