New used-car scam targets buyers in Oakville, Milton, Burlington, Halton Hills


Published April 12, 2023 at 2:37 pm

For the past couple of months, Halton police’s Regional Auto Theft Task Force has been investigating a network of “re-vinned” vehicles circulating Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills.

“Re-vinning” is the act of changing the vehicle identification number (VIN) of a stolen vehicle to a fraudulently fabricated number, concealing the fact the vehicle is stolen.

The task force has recovered 18 “re-vinned” vehicles that were sold to unsuspecting buyers as legitimate. Police are warning the public to practice due diligence when purchasing a pre-owned vehicle, specifically through private sale.

Here are some tips police offer to protect yourself from fraud:

  • Confirm the seller’s identity. Check the individual’s identification and proof of ownership.
  • Avoid cash purchases. Issue a cheque to the registered owner.
  • Get the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic or manufacturer’s dealership before purchase. A “re-vinned” vehicle can be detected through inspection programs.
  • Do your research. Order a vehicle history report before purchasing.
  • Don’t avoid taxes. Request a receipt that includes the seller’s information.
  • Carefully review the Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) – the seller must provide it. Ensure all pages are provided.
  • Ask questions. How long was the vehicle owned? Are there maintenance records? Why are you selling?
  • Do not let anyone else register the vehicle for you.
  • Consider the price. If the deal is too good to be true. It probably is.

Anyone with information regarding possible “re-vinned” vehicles is asked to contact the Regional Auto Theft Task Force at 905-825-4777, ext. 3407.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or at the website.

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