(InvestigateTV) - There’s a hidden danger on the roads – one that’s illegal and potentially putting families at risk: rolled-back odometers.
Experts say vehicle odometers are easier than ever to roll back.
“Our research shows there are now 1.6 million cars that are on roads across the country that have an odometer rolled back, and that’s costing consumers millions of dollars,” said Chris Basso, who works with Carfax, a company that provides vehicle history reports.
In a demonstration with Carfax, an odometer on a 2006 Chevy Silverado with 230,323 miles was tampered with in less than 30 seconds. A technician with an inexpensive electronic device was able to erase nearly 100,000 miles of wear, tear and history, leaving the Silverado with 130,483 miles.
Watch the video below to see a demonstration of an odometer rollback and hear how that affects the value of a vehicle.
Even with the dawn on the digital odometer, used car buyers should be aware of odometer fraud. That's the warning from Carfax.
"In fact these digital odometers can be easier to rollback because A) we're not looking for it and B), there's widespread availability of tools that simply plug into the car's computer and essentially hacking it," said Chris Basso of Carfax.
Basso suggests checking with a site like Carfax or having an auto mechanic check out the car you're considering before you purchase.
For the full demonstration of how a digital odometer can be rolled back, see the video player above.
St. Louis, MO – Melvin Harmon was sentenced to 33 months incarceration and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $119,359.92 for conspiracy to defraud the United States and mail fraud by assisting Missouri residents in registering their cars in Illinois.
According to evidence at trial, between January 1, 2015 and December 20, 2016, Melvin Harmon was employed at a Granite City, Illinois office registering vehicles for the State of Illinois Secretary of State. He used his employment to assist Missouri residents in obtaining fraudulent motor vehicle registrations for others in exchange for a fee. Some of the Missouri residents learned of his services when they saw flyers advertising Harmon as “The Plate Man.”
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Missouri State Highway Patrol have been investigating a series of consumer frauds related to the sale of vehicles by a KC couple.
The couple has been known to purchase a vehicle, typically from Craigslist. The couple will then alter the mileage on the vehicle and re-sell it on Craigslist, posing as the owners of the vehicle.
The investigation revealed approximately 48 vehicle purchases/sales within the past year; iis possible not all the transactions involve an odometer rollback. Investigators are still trying to determine the potential number of victims.
The suspects do not use their names during transactions, and typically use disposable pay-as-you-go cell phones.
The man is approximately 5’ 9”, medium build, and has an “East Coast” accent. If present, the woman typically stays in a green Nissan Quest minivan with their children while the transactions are conducted.
If you or someone you know has purchased a vehicle from these individuals, please contact Missouri State Highway Patrol Corporal Nate Bradley, at 816-622-0800.
BREMERTON, Wash. -- Three brothers are accused of ripping off dozens of car buyers in Bremerton by rolling back odometers to sell the vehicles at a higher price.
Bremerton Police arrested two of the brothers on Wednesday then served warrants at two Navy Yard City properties located in the 3700 block of Madrona Street and the 3700 block of C Street, where the vehicles were stored. During the search, detectives impounded at least three vehicles that were not registered to the properties.
"Unfortunately, most of (the victims) didn't know they'd been taken advantage of until I contacted them," said Bremerton Police Det. Martin Garland.
The organized crime investigation started in January 2014 after a victim found a repair invoice in a vehicle that was purchased from the suspects. The victim noticed the mileage didn't look right, checked the car's history on CarFax, and determined the mileage was incorrect.
Bremerton Police said the brothers purchased the cars on Craigslist then resold them at higher costs after rolling back the odometers, which would make it appear the cars didn't have as many miles so the suspects could get more money.
The National Odometer and Title Fraud Enforcement Association (NOTFEA) is a non-profit, professional organization formed originally in 1980 as the National Odometer Enforcement Association (NOEA).
The association is chartered as a non-profit corporation with the Commonwealth of Virginia and is registered as a 501(C)(3) organization with the Internal Revenue Service.
Membership in NOTFEA is restricted to individuals working for law enforcement and consumer protection agencies, licensing and motor vehicle departments, and private attorneys and investigators who are responsible for detecting, deterring, and prosecuting odometer, rebuilt/salvage, and other title fraud offenders under state, federal, and other applicable laws.