Orange County Tax Collector

Drive With Confidence

Every year, thousands of Americans become victims of motor vehicle fraud, unknowingly purchasing overpriced, stolen, or potentially unsafe vehicles. One of the best ways to prevent becoming a victim of fraud is to stay educated. Read on to learn more about what motor vehicle fraud is so that you can know it, spot it, and report it.

Know It.

What is Motor Vehicle Fraud?

Motor vehicle fraud encompasses situations where information about a vehicle is misrepresented or falsified. In many cases, motor vehicle fraud may include tampering with the vehicle’s odometer, title, or vehicle identification number (VIN).

Fraud is a serious issue that can hide the identity of a vehicle that is salvaged, stolen, or has significant wear and tear. If undetected, fraud could lead to a consumer paying too much for a potentially unsafe vehicle.

Violating title fraud, odometer fraud, and grand theft laws can result in fines as much as $5,000 and five years in prison.

Spot It.

Learn what to look for in a vehicle that could indicate different types of fraudulent activity. 

How Can I Spot Potential Signs of Fraud?

Odometer Fraud

Know It

Tampering with or disconnecting the odometer to reflect a lower mileage.

Spot It

  • Worn-down brake pads and gas pedals (or a recent replacement).
  • Loose screws around the dashboard.
  • Seats that look too worn for the mileage (or a new seat cover installation).
  • A replaced set of tires if the mileage is less than 20,000.
Title Fraud
Vehicle Cloning

Tips to Help Ensure You're Not a Victim of Fraud

Ask the seller to meet with you at a motor vehicle office to process the sale. If they refuse, back out of the deal.

If you have doubts about the safety or state of the vehicle, take it to a trusted mechanic to inspect for any damage or evidence of tampering.

Check your vehicle using one of the many vehicle history report services available online. Compare information from the title, VIN, maintenance records, and service stickers to the report.

Free Check from FLHSMV: services.flhsmv.gov/mvcheckweb

Paid Report from TitleCheck.us: titlecheck.us

Never keep your original title in your vehicle, which can be used to sell your car or obtain a loan. Use photocopies if you'd like to store the title information in your car.

As always, use common sense when purchasing any vehicle. If a deal sounds shady or too good to be true, it most likely is! 

Report It.

Where Can I Report a Suspected Case of Fraud?

If you suspect you have become a victim of title fraud, please complete form HSMV 80122, Suspected or Reported Title and Registration Fraud. Mail, fax, or email the completed form and all supporting documents to:

FLHSMV Motor Vehicle Fraud Unit

Neil Kirkman Building Room B361/MS69
2900 Apalachee Pkwy., Tallahassee, FL 32399

Phone: (850) 617-2907
Fax: (850) 617-3952
Email: dmv-enforcement@flhsmv.gov

Additional Resources

How to Protect Yourself: Buying a Car (Florida Attorney General)

Odometer Fraud (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Motor Vehicle Repair Tips (Orange County Government)

Campaign Media

Video

Logo

Print