LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) -VIN, vehicle identification number, switching is a costly crime for unsuspecting car buyers in Nevada. FOX5 has learned it is now being connected to drug cartels.

“It’s so profitable in fact that we can tie cartel activity to this behavior,” said J.D. Decker, with the Compliance Division of Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

Decker made the comments during a Nevada Division of Insurance webinar in the fall on the rising costs of auto insurance in Nevada.

Thieves will steal a car and then find a vin plate similar to the make of the car they took. They will then put the phony VIN plate on the stolen car and try to sell it. The unsuspecting buyer will later find out the car is stolen when they go to register it. The person will be out the car and the money they paid for it.

DMV officials say people buying cars from a third party should visit a DMV VIN inspection station prior to exchanging money. That inspection will determine whether the vehicle is stolen.


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