Can a VIN number be stolen?

Claim: Thieves can steal cars by using VINs to obtain duplicate keys through auto dealerships.MIXTURE OF TRUE AND FALSE INFORMATIONTRUE: Some thieves have stolen cars by using VI

Can a VIN number be stolen?

Claim:  Thieves can steal cars by using VINs to obtain duplicate keys through auto dealerships.


TRUE:  Some thieves have stolen cars by using VINs to obtain duplicate keys through auto dealerships.

FALSE:  Obscuring you car's VIN is a good way to decrease the likelihood that your automobile will be stolen.

Example:  [Collected on the Internet, 2003]

Just heard this from a friend. Apparently car thieves have yet again found a way around the system and steal your car or truck without any effort at all.

The car thieves peer through the windshield of your car or truck, write down the VIN number from the label on the dash, go into the local dealership for that car brand and request a duplicate key for it from the
VIN number.

Car dealerships make up a duplicate key from the VIN number, collect payment from the 'customer' who's really a would-be car thief for making up the duplicate key  the car thief goes back to your vehicle, inserts the key they've just gotten and off they drive with your car or truck.

They don't have to break in, don't have to damage the vehicle and draw no attention to themselves as all they have to do is to walk up to your car, insert the key and off they go to their chop shop with your vehicle!!!

Can you believe it?

To avoid this from happening to you, simply put opaque tape (like a strip of electrical tape, duct tape or medical tape) across the VIN label located on the dash board. You can't remove the VIN number legally under most state laws, so cover it so that it can't be viewed through the windshield by a car thief.

Anyway, feel free to forward this on before some other car thief steals another car or truck like this.

Origins:  Stealing cars by using Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) to obtain duplicate keys from auto dealerships certainly has worked for some car thieves. A July 2009 news item from Chicago reported that a ring of thieves using purloined VINs had stolen hundreds of cars over an 18-month period, and a December 2002 article in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution described the break-up of a multi-state car theft ring which employed just such a scheme:

A man recently arrested by Lilburn police may be part of a car theft ring that operates in the Southeast and involves at least $580,000 worth of stolen cars, authorities said.

Kevin Lee Davis, 32, was arrested Dec. 4 by Lilburn police and charged with theft by receiving stolen property and illegally falsifying the vehicle identification number on a car, said Lilburn Police Chief Ron Houck.

Since the arrest, Davis has admitted to working with a group that has been stealing cars in at least four states, Houck said.

[Huntsville, Ala., police officer Jeffrey] Weaber said Davis had a few car-stealing schemes that he had never seen before.

"He has to be in the top five of the smartest criminals I've encountered," said Weaber. "I've never seen a scheme like that."

In one scheme, Davis was able to create authentic looking titles for cars he would steal, said Weaber.

According to police, Davis would go to used car lots and copy down the vehicle identification number of cars he wanted to steal. He would put the stolen VIN numbers on the titles he created and then take them to the dealership, Weaber said.

"He would go to the dealer and tell them that he lost the key to his car," said Weaber. "Because he had proof of ownership they would make the key for him and he would just drive the car off the lot."

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