Thieves turn to car cloning to aid a quick sale
Date: 18 October 2016
Whilst over a staggering 95% of stolen vehicles fitted with a TRACKER device are successfully located and recovered, less than an astonishing 50% of all cars stolen in the UK are never reunited with their legitimate owners. Many of these cars, warns TRACKER, are sold on to unsuspecting buyers, disguised by a cloned identity.
Car cloning is the vehicle equivalent of identity fraud – criminals steal a car and give it a new identity copied from a similar make and model vehicle already on the road. The criminal alters the unique 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the stolen car and in many cases, will even use a stolen V5/logbook to try to legitimise its identity. A vehicle with a cloned identity is all the more difficult for the police to identify, and in turn, easier for the thief to sell on.
Two weeks ago, Nicholas Beecham, from Solihull, West Midlands had his Range Rover Sport stolen from outside his house. Less than two hours after his TRACKER unit was activated, the police successfully located and recovered his vehicle. Whilst thankfully the vehicle was undamaged, it had already been cloned; the criminals had used false number plates and a false matching VIN to hide its true identity. “If I didn’t have a TRACKER on my car, it would have been gone for good. The thieves cloned the key to steal it and then cloned the vehicle to help them make a quick sale. It’s frightening just how quickly professional criminals operate, taking the steps needed to disguise and sell on stolen vehicles within a matter of hours.”
Andy Barrs, Head of Police Liaison at TRACKER (part of the Tantalum Group) continues: “£12.5 million worth of stolen vehicles were recovered by TRACKER last year alone, but there remain a significant number of stolen cars circulating on the UK’s roads. Although a good number of vehicles are stolen to order or shipped abroad, many are sold on to innocent car buyers.”
Fraudsters use car cloning to sell a stolen vehicle for a quick profit, so buyers should look out for a great looking car at a bargain price. Check the car’s market value and avoid anything that’s being offered for less than 70% of that price. No legitimate seller will want to lose money on a sale. Buyers should never pay cash only for a vehicle, particularly if they are paying more than £3000. Most crooks would rather walk away from a sale than take a payment that can be traced back to them.
Andy Barrs concludes, “Whilst a tracking device won’t stop a car being stolen, it can significantly increase the chances of the police locating and returning it to its rightful owner. Without any SVR protection, the probability of a stolen vehicle being offered for sale as a clone is greatly increased.”
TRACKER continues to work with police across the UK to close the net on thieves and reunite motorists with their stolen cars, regardless of how much they cost. Its award winning stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) systems work like an electronic homing device. A covert transmitter is hidden in one of several dozen places around the vehicle. There is no visible aerial, so the thief won’t even know it’s there. Unlike other SVR devices, TRACKER’s unique technology can locate stolen vehicles anywhere, even when they are hidden in a garage or shipping container.