Motor Vehicle Fraud
Verify Before You Buy
Without proper research, that low mileage, late model, previously owned dream vehicle, may make you the victim of odometer fraud. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) provides consumers with the resources to make informed decisions about vehicle purchases. Before purchasing a pre-owned vehicle, visit the DHSMV Motor Vehicle Information Check and verify the odometer reading.
Federal and Florida laws exist to protect consumers from odometer fraud. It is a felony to tamper with, adjust, alter, set back, disconnect, or fail to connect the odometer of a motor vehicle to reflect a lower mileage than the vehicle has actually been driven. It is also illegal to knowingly provide a falsified odometer statement.
When these laws are violated, title fraud and grand theft, both felonies, are also added to the list of arrest charges. These violations each carry a fine as much as $5,000 and/or five years in prison.
Odometer fraud can have a significant financial impact on a consumer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that more than 450,000 vehicles are sold each year with false odometer readings, costing
U.S. vehicle buyers over $1 billion in increased costs for vehicles with rolled back odometers. Further loss to the consumer may include:
- Increased sales tax due to the inflated sales price;
- Increased insurance cost due to the lower mileage;
- Increased maintenance and repair costs; and
- Decreased vehicle safety.
Follow these tips to avoid becoming a victim of odometer fraud:
- Look for signs of wear on the brake and gas pedal pads, or the recent replacement of the pads;
- Check for loose screws around the dashboard;
- Observe the wear and tear on seats, or take notice of new seat cover installation, a vehicle with low mileage should not have excessive wear;
- If the car has less than 20,000 miles, it should not have a replacement set of tires;
- Ask to see the maintenance records of the vehicle and the original owner manual for the vehicle; and
- Consider having the vehicle inspected by a reputable mechanic of your choosing.
If you have fallen victim to odometer fraud or if you have information on an operation or incident where odometer fraud is being committed, please complete form HSMV 80122, Suspected or Reported Title and Registration Fraud. Mail, fax or email the completed form and all supporting documents to:
Motorist Services Support
Motor Vehicle Fraud Unit
Room C208/MS69, Neil Kirkman Building
Tallahassee, FL 32399
HSMV 80122, Suspected or Reported Title and Registration Fraud