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HEAT® Safety Tips

Tips to Prevent Used Car Fraud

Buyer (or Seller) Beware

Consumers become vulnerable to fraud every time they sell a used vehicle on their own, or buy one from an individual.  Here are some safety tips to protect both the buyer and sell from fraudulent behavior.

Tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Avoid selling a vehicle on Friday evening. Because banks are closed on the weekend, Friday transactions give the thief time to make a getaway before you get a chance to go to the bank and attempt to cash his or her check.
  • Get two forms of identification. Just because the buyer has a certified check, it doesn’t mean it’s valid. Call the issuing bank to verify.
  • Obtain contact information. Ask for a home or work phone number, along with the address of the purchaser, before handing over the title. Be wary if they only use a cell phone.
  • Be skeptical of bargain prices. If you find a vehicle listed under what it’s worth, approach with healthy skepticism and research the history of the vehicle.
  • Beware of out-of-state transactions. Never walk away without a title. Completing the transaction at a Secretary of State during office hours can help reduce the possibility of fraud because they can immediately verify license and title information for legitimacy.

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By protecting your vehicle and being alert, you can be part of the solution,
and you can save money on your insurance premiums.

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"I saw you featured on Fox 2 Detroit recently and decided to report some suspicious activities in the park across from my house and the culprits were caught red-handed stealing my neighbor's car the very next week. Thanks for helping to make Michigan a safer place to live! I will be telling all of my friends!"

- Anonymous Tipster

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