Motor Industry News
The VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) codes were supposed to give officers vehicle information instantly. Each plate is unique and contains a history of the car, including model and body-style, and when and where it was built. Fraudsters can currently copy a number plate and the VIN to give a stolen car with the same specification a complete new identity.
But the boom in identity theft means the practice is allowing crooks easy access to the very information they need to clone stolen or written-off vehicles. And police fear they are putting "death traps" back on the road with false licence plates and counterfeited VINs.
Now, a leading car data check company has called on motor manufacturers to 'Bin the VIN' - and put the code out of sight to make things much more difficult for fraudsters.
"The current practice of displaying the VIN in full view from the outside of a vehicle simply beggars belief," said mycarcheck.com general manager Roger Powell. "It's similar to leaving a credit card lying around with the PIN number attached to it," he added. "It wouldn't take much for makers to put the code under the bonnet or inside the car - in the glove box, for example - as this would deter many crooks."
According to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), it is not compulsory to display the code, although most manufacturers do so. Fraudsters can currently copy a number plate and the VIN to give a stolen car with the same specification a complete new identity. "It used to be the case that if you wanted to disguise a stolen motor, you'd have to buy an old wreck from the salvage yard," said Phil Swift, a leading insurance investigator.
"You would then go and steal a similar one in pristine condition and transfer the identity of the salvaged vehicle to the stolen one. It was necessary to buy the salvage to obtain the VIN. But now, there's no reason for the criminal to go that extra mile - all the information he requires is on full display. Car criminals can literally go window shopping."