Auto Theft Prevention
When selling your car
A group of individuals are picking vehicles out of the want ads that are listed for sale and then negotiating with the sellers to buy the cars. Sometimes they will go to the seller's house, but many times they will meet in a parking lot, do a brief "test drive" and then produce a cashier's check. The price is always negotiated over the phone and there is conversation as to whom to make the check out to. The sales occur after 5 p.m. or over the weekend when checks can't be verified. The checks are counterfeit and of very good quality. They are using U.S. Bank as the issuing bank.
A variation on this scheme is that they go to the house to look at the vehicle and take it for a test drive without the owner. While they are gone, they take the ownership information from the registration in the vehicle and stop and make a duplicate key, then return the vehicle indicating that they will return with the money. They return in a short period of time, steal the vehicle with the duplicate key and, using the information from the registration, go to DMV, forge a power of attorney and get a duplicate title.
When buying a car
Approximately 4,500 salvage vehicles are being sold each month to rebuilders. Salvage vehicles are vehicles that have been declared as salvage by insurance companies, usually because of accidents, and are paid off by the insurance companies because it is too expensive to repair them. The vehicles are being rebuilt and offered for sale in the newspaper or on corners to unsuspecting purchasers. Licensed dealers are not allowed to sell salvage vehicles by law, but individuals can. Individuals are required to reveal that these vehicles are salvage, but usually don't unless asked. If you are looking for a vehicle out of the newspaper, always ask if the vehicle has ever been wrecked or been declared salvage.
Don't leave an unattended car running
During cold weather, some people tend to warm up their cars, leaving them unattended, before they go to work or, keys are left in the vehicle while the driver runs in to pay or get a cup of coffee at a convenience store. The thieves actually prowl the neighborhoods and convenience stores.