Thieves copying VIN from cars to re-use on stolen cars - FOX6 WBRC Birmingham, AL

ATLANTA (CBS46) - Metro Atlanta police are keeping an eye out for a rising trend among car thieves called cloning.

David Renaud, with the National Insurance Crime Bureau, said the problem started surfacing about five years ago.

"They're stealing a car, and then they will clone the VIN. In other words... remanufacture the dash VIN, the labels on the car and everything," Renaud said.

The VIN, or vehicle identification number, is basically a fingerprint for your car. Renaud said that thieves can copy your VIN, and if they had a stolen car that was a similar make and model to yours, they could then use your VIN to clone the stolen car.

Renaud said consumers should always beware, especially when purchasing a vehicle from an individual or online.

"I don't put anything past the bad guys," Renaud said. "I recommend a Carfax report, especially if you're going to buy the vehicle."

Renaud said many people become victims when they leave their vehicle parked in public places. Nowadays, the tricks can go unnoticed.

"Usually your inexperienced officers do over look it, but your more experienced officers are looking for it," he said.

Renaud said Hondas are the most cloned vehicles.

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