Nevada DMV Officers Bust VIN-Swapping Ring

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Nevada DMV Officers Bust VIN-Swapping Ring
Nevada DMV Officers Bust VIN-Swapping Ring

Police with the Nevada DMV scored a big victory recently when they took down a VIN-swapping ring in Las Vegas. The alleged illegal operation is similar to ones we’ve seen all over the country and in many other parts of the world, signaling a disturbing upswing.

Car YouTuber gets burned in a Corvette VIN fraud scheme.

VIN swapping, or taking the VIN from a legitimate vehicle and applying it to one that’s stolen, is hardly a new thing. Crooks have been doing it for decades, but there’s been an uptick in activity over the last few years as car thefts have raged out of control in many cities.


A reporter from Fox5 Las Vegas rode along as DMV enforcement officers went to a house to make the bust. They initially were tipped off by the National Insurance Crime Bureau then started digging to investigate the possible VIN-swapping operation.

What police uncovered was a relatively small operation run by two brothers. Still, unchecked these small organizations can do a lot of damage and even grown in size, so shutting them down early is key.

Ultimately, police recovered two stolen vehicles, Chevy Tahoe and Cadillac Escalade, both of them stolen out of Florida.

Not only do these VIN-swapping operations help create demand for stolen vehicles, they create huge problems for car shoppers. You could unknowingly purchase a stolen vehicle, thanks to the swapped VIN plates, not finding out about the deception until months or even years afterward.

There is a way to guard against being scammed by VIN swapping. While these operations will change out the plate on the dash and plate or sticker from the driver’s doorjamb, they can’t alter the VIN stamped on other parts of a vehicle. Those are often on the frame, engine, or other major components, depending on the make and model.

You would have to looks up all the VIN locations yourself, and they might not be easy to reach. But considering how much you have to lose if you buy a VIN-swapped ride, it might be worth the effort.

Image via Fox5 Las Vegas/YouTube

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