Compared with many other scams, VIN switching is comparatively sparse. That might suggest several thousand cases a year across the United States as a whole. That means, though, that the crime has flown below the radar of many consumer-watch groups, and victims are usually left helpless to do anything about it. Often, the crime only comes to light when big-time car thieves are arrested and their activities are thoroughly investigated, or when two identical VINs are recorded in different states.
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A badly damaged car is bought or acquired by a crook using a false name for the title. The car frame, its VIN and its title are then usually auctioned off by insurers or police, where — you guessed it — the crooks buy it back.
Then they reinstall all the pieces they removed and suddenly they have a complete, legally owned car, which they can sell. Check out a TV news report on this crime warning, this YouTube video, Vehicle Cloning , may be preceded by an unconnected ad — it has nothing to do with Scambusters. NICB also has a service for law enforcement and insurers to translate VINs, which contain coded information about the vehicle make, model and engine size.
Also, of course, you should be on the alert for car deals that seem too good to be true, extremely low odometer readings, and individual sellers who seem cagey about their identity or address.
Even big and respected dealers have been known to flout consumer laws, for example by implying discounts are more widely available than they really are, or simply misrepresenting the true price. If anyone can find an actual rule or mandate I would like to see it. I went and looked at pictures of titles from all over the country on eBay and other sources and they are not labeled VIN until the s. If anyone has any further information I would be interested to see it. That VIN contains more info than you might imagine including a "security number" that can be taken thru a series of calculations to determine the legitimacy of any particular VIN.
Try it sometime, it's interesting. I'm aware of that. I was trying to verify the claims you see all over the internet that said the VIN started in Since , American automobile manufacturers have used a vehicle identification number V.
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The early VINs came in a wide array of configurations and variations, depending on the individual manufacturer. Clearly this is not what actually happened based on actual serial numbers on cars and trucks and actual titles that kept using the term "Serial Number" until the s.
Amphicars broke all the "rules" when they were 1st produced in it was a simple 5 digit sequential-ish number. Sometime in ish they went to a 9 digit number.
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I have found the "VIN" located on no less than 10 places and parts on them they do not always match! Of course the one that counts is the tag riveted to the bulkhead which includes the engine number as well. I have quite a collection of titles and can say that pretty much every car from the early 30's back used the motor number as the vin.
I can't answer your question about the rules or law change, but here's hard evidence for the change, as shown in the "Red Book, Nat'l. Used Car Market Report. The same info will be found in "N. Your charge will be to discover the actual law or directive in a government archive, so good luck! Are you able to search legislation on line? State and Federal?
The hard part will be come up with the language they used. Perhaps you already know, from looking at old ownership papers. The ultimate would be to visit a law library. Hopefully they'll have all the legislation and ensuing regulations of all states there In this country, the early motor licensing early 20th C.
I don't know when the government got involved; probably early '20s. In , Massachusetts was the first state to issue plates. So you can search the legislation in those states and hopefully get onto the Federal legislation from there? There is a Wikipedia article giving an incomplete list of Congress legislation. It might be worth a look. In the case of Studebaker, the term 'Serial Number' was used on the plate, mounted on the driver's side 'A' pillar until In addition, there was a 'secret' serial number also stamped on the rearmost crossmember on the frame. I searched pretty hard to find legislation, but I couldn't find anything that specifically said VIN.
I did find a lot of legislation dealing with the the standardization of liens on cars and the registration of those liens. For every example like Buick where the number changed in I find another manufacturer that didn't change their numbers until years later. This is going to be a bit of a hunt. If anyone finds anything please let me know.
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Packard vehicles starting about carried a metal plate with a number unique to each vehicle and the number was called a vehicle number, or VN if you prefer, it was in addition to any other numbers such as motor or frame numbers. Prior to that time Packard called it a Serial number. You need to be a member in order to leave a comment. Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!
Already have an account? Sign in here. General Discussion Search In. Started in ? History of the VIN and vehicle registration? Recommended Posts. Posted May 8, Thanks, Eric.
Share this post Link to post Share on other sites. Posted May 8, edited.