Buyer beware — odometer fraud on the rise

Think that odometer fraud is a crime of the past? Digital odometers were supposed to make altering a car’s mileage harder. And they did – for a while. But new gadgets for turning back odometers are now available on the internet — and shockingly easy to use.

An eye-opening undercover investigative report by CBS channel 2 in Los Angeles shows how it’s done — in a scam that has attracted the attention of authorities.

“CBS 2 investigation uncovers odometer fraud possibly affecting thousands of consumers”

Odometer fraud remains a serious crime in the U.S., robbing consumers who pay thousands more than a car is really worth. Plus they face costly repairs they didn’t anticipate. Adding insult to injury, warranties are usually void on vehicles with altered odometers. So even if you buy a car that was sold with a warranty, you may be stuck paying out of pocket for repairs.

How can you avoid odometer fraud? Vehicle history reports don’t always capture mileage discrepancies. So be sure to get a reliable auto mechanic to thoroughly inspect any used car you’re interested in buying, before you agree to anything. An altered odometer may register a trouble code that a qualified mechanic can detect, using specialized diagnostic equipment. Also insist on seeing all the work orders for past repairs, and contact the repair shop to confirm the mileage.

The average mileage for most cars is around 12,000 a year. Be especially suspicious when sellers claim a car has significantly lower mileage.

Original article: http://carconsumers.org/blog/2012/06/06/buyer-beware-odometer-fraud-on-the-rise/

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The National Odometer and Title Fraud Enforcement Association (NOTFEA) is a non-profit, professional organization formed originally in 1980 as the National Odometer Enforcement Association (NOEA).

The association is chartered as a non-profit corporation with the Commonwealth of Virginia and is registered as a 501(C)(3) organization with the Internal Revenue Service.

Membership in NOTFEA is restricted to individuals working for law enforcement and consumer protection agencies, licensing and motor vehicle departments, and private attorneys and investigators who are responsible for detecting, deterring, and prosecuting odometer, rebuilt/salvage, and other title fraud offenders under state, federal, and other applicable laws.