It’s not a new thing for car thieves to remove the VIN plates from stolen vehicles, add new ones, then try to pass them off as legit to a buyer. You should always have been guarding against this and other schemes, but police are running across them even more these days, including in Canada.
Learn why Texas has outlawed temporary paper license plates here.
The Alberta Royal Canadian Mounted Police (don’t you dare call them Mounties) Auto Theft Unit has issued a warning to the public about specifically Ford Raptors that are stolen and the VIN tags are swapped. As covered by Heartland News, three recent cases have authorities in Alberta on high alert.
Look, three cases might not sound like much to you, but have you ever visited Alberta? If you have, well you know what we mean. Plus, the Raptors in question are worth about $80,000 CAD each, so they’re not exactly cheap trucks.
Like we said before, this trick of removing VIN tags and affixing new ones isn’t exactly new. There are numerous ways to guard against it. First off, look at the tags on the dash and driver’s doorjamb. If the edges are bent/marred, the screws holding them on look mangled, or the screws don’t match, the tag probably isn’t the one installed in the factory.
You can run the VIN through one of many services online. Smart thieves will choose a tag from the same make and model, but you might luck out with this technique.
Finally, you can learn where the VIN is stamped on the engine and chassis. It might not be convenient, but check those numbers against the easier to see tags and that usually removes any question of deception. If that sounds paranoid, just think if you pay $80,000 cash for a stolen vehicle you might lose the vehicle and your money.
Image via Alberta RCMP Auto Theft Unit