How to Spot a Cloned Car

Most people are not aware of cloned vehicles, not because they have not heard about it. Some people might be aware of these vehicles.

However, they may not have bought one, and thus, they are unaware of cloned vehicles and the techniques which are used by the criminals to change or alter the identity of a vehicle.

Surveys have revealed that 50% of the people can be drawn into by the sellers into buying the cloned vehicle by advertising these vehicles on the lower process as compared to their original market value.

Besides, it has also been observed that sellers of cloned vehicles attract buyers and then crack the deal by giving a fake explanation of vehicle’s owner and registration history. So, before we tell you how to avoid these identity thefts, you should also know about cloning of vehicles.

What is Vehicle Cloning?


Cloning a vehicle is similar to identity theft. Criminals steal vehicles and change their registration plates to a similar car which is already on the road and legally registered with a motor vehicle and registration authority.

They conceal the original 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the stolen car and replace it with another vehicle’s number.

Furthermore, criminals also disguise the V5/logbook by using a stolen book for legitimizing the identity of the stolen vehicle. So, cloning results in two cars running on the roads with the same registration plates.

How to avoid a cloned vehicle


A cloned vehicle can give you more hassle than you have ever thought of. The police may call you for an investigation if they find that you are using a cloning vehicle.

Besides, you may have to provide details related to your purchase in case the police demands more evidence. However, there are few steps which can be taken to avoid buying a cloned vehicle.

Check the advertisement

Buying a used car from someone you already know can be a safe option. Try to buy a used car from trusted dealers or the ones who have already provided you used cars. However, if you are going to buy from an unknown car dealer, then make sure to check the advertisement at its fullest.

Check the track record of the seller and his business history. Do check the customer feedback and reviews on the seller’s website and previous advertisements.

Besides, you can also check the advertisement style and media such as the language and specific words used in the ad and how the ad published.

Check vehicle’s VIN

Cloned vehicle’s registration plates are changed, and the seller will try to trap you into the deal with fake registration book.

However, you can always ensure that the vehicle is legally registered. For this, you need to check Vehicle’s identification number (VIN) with government agencies and motor vehicle registration authority.

Besides, you can also check the VIN with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)’s VINCheck Service which provides vehicle’s registration details along with owner history. These details can help you with your purchase to avoiding cloned cars.

Check the paperwork and servicing invoices

The seller must have the original paperwork and servicing invoices of the cars in case he is sure that he is selling a cloned car. A cloned car has identity theft issues.

So, the seller tries to conceal the original identity of the car as much as possible. For this very reason, the seller will not have the original paperwork because he is not the original owner of the car.

A genuine seller with an authentic identity of his car will not shy away from showing the paperwork and servicing invoices.

So, remember that you always demand the paperwork and service invoicing for matching the vehicle’s registration plate number with that on the V5/logbook and servicing invoices.

Buy from an authentic dealer

A seller must be an authentic dealer who shows a previous record or authentic history of buying and selling cars. So, always try to buy from an authentic seller because an authentic seller never deals in cloned cars.

You can check the authenticity of the seller from customer feedback and reviews. Besides, you can also check the popularity of the seller on online platforms and websites.

Final Verdict

Buying a used vehicle can become a hassle if you mistakenly buy a cloned car which has been reported stolen. The authenticity of a used car can be checked from various sources. However, you need to remain vigilant and well-aware while you make a deal for a used car.

You can always trust your contacts for buying a used car because they will not sell a car with a fake registration number. Besides, you can also check the authenticity of a used car on online VIN Check services which provide brief details about a vehicles registration and purchase history.