1. Carefully examine the public VIN plate on the dash of the vehicle
Compare the number to the one found on the registration. Also, check the manufacturer’s label on the driver’s door or the driver’s door frame beside the latch, and compare the VIN on that label with the public VIN (found on the dash). If the label is missing or is scratched out, there is a problem.
2. Ask for proof of ownership and identification from the seller
Compare photo identification to the name on the vehicle’s registration document and make sure they are the same. Record the seller’s driver’s licence number and contact information on the bill of sale.
3. Check the VIN on the public Canadian Police Information Centre website at www.cpic-cipc.ca
The CPIC check is free and will tell you to contact police if there’s something wrong with the VIN.
4. Consider online services such as CARFAX or CARPROOF
Pay particular attention to a vehicle’s registration history. If the vehicle goes back and forth several times between provinces and/or states, it may be a clone. Also, look for any noted color changes and/or odometer discrepancies.
5. Google the VIN
If the vehicle is listed for sale in another province or country, the listing may appear on Google, indicating the possibility of a clone.
6. Have a Vehicle Information Report (VIR) done through any registry agent
This will notify you of any liens, as well as the vehicle registration history and status within Alberta. This is NOT a stolen vehicle check.
7. Bring a friend
It’s always a good idea to have another set of eyes to witness the transaction and corroborate any discussions with the seller.
8. Question low sale prices
If the asking price is too good to be true, ask why. Be suspicious if the seller demands cash. It’s a good idea to complete any cash transactions at a financial institution.
9. Keep detailed records of the transaction
Retain original copies of bills of sale (proof of ownership), vehicle registrations, service records etc. Your bill of sale is your only legal proof of ownership.
10. Your best weapon is your brain. Use common sense and good judgment.
Don’t allow your desire to buy the vehicle to override your intuition.
Anyone with any information about this or any other crime is asked to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 [Call: 780-423-4567] or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 [Call: 1-800-222-8477] or online at www.p3tips.com/250.