Car Buying Consumer Warning




Car Buying Consumer Warning

The California Department of Motor Vehicles is alerting Californians to be cautious when buying used vehicles. Specifically, vehicles being advertised for sale online through sites such as Facebook Marketplace or Offer Up. The DMV has seen an increase in stolen vehicles being sold online due to the shortage of new vehicles for sale.

Criminals are stealing vehicles, altering the VIN, creating a fraudulent certificate of title, and then posting them for sale online. The car thieves are taking advantage of the vehicle shortage.  Listing the stolen vehicles for well below market value to encourage eager buyers to take quick action.

“With an increase in stolen vehicles being sold online, we are reminding consumers that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon. “Californians planning to make a large cash purchase of a vehicle from someone they do not know should proceed with caution.”

Tips on how to avoid purchasing a stolen vehicle:
  1. Obtain an online VIN history report
  2. Compare the name of the owner on the title (pink slip) to the name of the seller
  3. Insist on meeting the seller at a local DMV office to complete the sale and vehicle transfer
  4. Meet at a local law enforcement location to verify the vehicle before you complete the transaction
  5. Take note of the seller's car and attempt to confirm their identity

If you believe you may have purchased a stolen vehicle, immediately contact DMV Investigations at (661) 836-2291.

Legitimate title transfers and many other DMV activities can be accomplished online at

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