What can someone do with a stolen car title? A lot of things, including registration of another car, loan application, identity theft, and insurance fraud. You do not want your car title in the wrong hands for any reason.
Thieves target car registrations often for identity theft. If you find your car registration title missing, report it right away and file a police report. This sets a record of the theft’s timing and location, which is important in case someone tries to misuse your registration details.
What Can Someone Do with a Stolen Car Title?
The key reasons thieves steal car registrations are:
Get the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
Thieves might use your VIN to illegally register other vehicles, claim insurance on wrecked cars, or even make duplicate keys. In some cases, they use a stolen registration to falsely buy a new car from a dealership.
Use as Loan Collateral
A stolen car title could be used to secure a loan. The thief presents the title as if they own the car, deceiving the lender.
Plan a Break-in
Your car registration holds important information such as your home address. Thieves might use this to plan a burglary at your home, especially if they find other valuable information in your car. While this is less common, it’s wise to heighten your home security after a car theft or break-in.
Forge and Alter the Title
Information on the title could be altered, such as changing the owner’s name, to make it seem like they legally own the car.
The information on the car title can be used for identity theft. This includes using the original owner’s details for fraudulent activities. The car title can be part of creating a broader fake identity, especially if combined with other stolen documents.
Some might use your stolen title to claim insurance on the car. They simply pretend it’s been lost or damaged.
What to Do if Your Title is Stolen
If you find your car title missing, do the following:
1. Report to the Police
Go to the police and tell them about the break-in and the stolen registration or license plate sticker. This is important because if someone else uses them, it could cause you financial trouble.
2. Contact the DMV
Each state has different rules for dealing with stolen car registrations. Get in touch with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Tell them about the theft and ask for a new registration because yours was stolen.
3. Notify Your Insurance Company
After you talk to the DMV, call your car insurance company. Let them know what happened. They need this information in case you need to make an insurance claim later.
Ways to Prevent Car Title Theft
Don’t Leave Your Title in the Car
The best place to keep your car title is in a safe deposit box, a fireproof container, or any other secure place in your home.
Lock Your Car Always
It doesn’t matter if you’re just at home or out somewhere. Always lock your car. It’s a simple way to add extra security.
Choose Your Parking Spot Wisely
When you park, look for a place that’s easy to spot and has lots of people around, especially at night. Thieves are less likely to break into a car and still your title in a busy, well-lit area.
If someone gets hold of a stolen car title, they might try to transfer the vehicle’s ownership by forging the original owner’s signature. This is illegal, and the transfer won’t be valid. However, the problem is that the actual owner might not realize this has happened immediately. Undoing such fraudulent transfers can be quite difficult.
It’s important to act quickly if your car title is lost or stolen. You should apply for a replacement as soon as possible to make the lost title invalid and a new one will be issued. This step makes it hard for anyone trying to use the stolen title to register the sale of the car, as the title they have is no longer valid.
Read also: How to Cheat Car Insurance Companies