VIN scam hits car dealers and car buyers, according to StarTribune.
Late last year, Pat McCoy received an alarming letter from the Minnesota State Patrol. The 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt he had purchased from a Bloomington dealership four months earlier may have been stolen.
In December, the State Patrol inspected the car and confiscated it.
“We were shocked,” said McCoy, who lives in Victoria. “All we were left with was an offer for a ride home from the State Patrol.”
It turns out that McCoy, Lupient and two owners before that were victims of a rare kind of auto identity theft. The thief had altered the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the dashboard and doors of the Cobalt.
So far, Lupient has taken the largest hit from the stolen Cobalt. It offered McCoy a refund on the $7,200 that he paid for the car. General Manager Pam Guilford said it’s the first time she has encountered such a scam in 33 years of selling cars. The State Patrol says they get about five cases a year, but already in 2014 they have three reports of stolen vehicles sold after a “VIN switch.”