Cloned Car Check – How to verify if a Car is cloned in the UK?
In a sense, car cloning is like identity theft, except cars are being cloned instead of real people. Essentially, thieves steal vehicles (or repair written-off ones) and give them the same identity as another legally registered car that closely matches its description. Number plates are changed to match the original car’s, the VIN is modified, and a fraudulent logbook is provided. This results in two identical cars (clones) being on the road simultaneously.
Unfortunately, only one of these is legally registered. The owner of the legitimate vehicle will be prosecuteEnter the vehicle plate to complete an online vehicle check. A V5C check (logbook check) will be performed against known stolen logbook number databases. In this manner, you can tell whether the car might be a copy or not. Verify the vehicle’s number plate matches the one on the car by checking the V5C logbook for any crime committed in the clone. The honest owners of cloned cars often do not realize they are being cloned until they receive a parking ticket or fine in the mail.
Why cars are often cloned?
Is this a common problem? Despite what you think, it is one of the fastest-growing crimes right now. Some police forces in the UK estimate that up to 20% of vehicles have cloned plates.
Due to high insurance costs and the cost of living crisis, many motorists illegally run on fake cloned plates. Many do not stop considering the real victims – this is not a victimless crime.
The DVLA do not currently make car cloning statistics public, but there is increasingly a call for them to do so.
How to prevent a car from cloned?
You can check some things when looking at a car to help identify whether it has been cloned or not.
- Enter the vehicle plate to conduct an online car check. This will include a V5C check (logbook check) against known stolen logbook numbers. That way, you can identify if the car is possibly a clone or not.
- Check the V5C logbook, and make sure that the vehicle’s number plate matches that on the car.
- Also, check the VIN on the logbook matches the VIN stamped on the car. Do not stop at one location. Check as many as you can. These can be found under the bonnet, beneath the windscreen, and on the door sill of the driver.
- Ensure the address on the logbook matches the rough location of the car—for example, the nearest city.
- Know the market value of the car. That way, you will know if the owner is selling it suspiciously cheaply. If the vehicle is a bargain, the seller is looking for a quick sale – so you have to ask yourself why.
- Never pay cash. Car cloners don’t want to be traced, so they only offer to pay with a traceable method. Also, avoid paying part-cash, especially if the cash proportion is high.
- If you buy the car via a private sale, visit the registered keeper’s address.
Report any cloned vehicle that you have already purchased to your local law enforcement.