Recently, another example of a massive auto title fraud scheme was brought to light, this time out of Pennsylvania. According to this article, the Pennsylvania Attorney General busted a massive auto title fraud scheme that included 21 businesses, 5 residents, and about 30 people. So what happened?
According to the article, allegedly they were forging documents and using improper methods to get titles for vehicles that should not have been titled at all. Some of the vehicles were stolen, some had active liens, some had prior owners that were objecting, and some were actually salvage vehicles that had the VIN swapped to hide the salvage brand. All of this is considered to be title washing. The article mentions that hundreds, if not thousands of titles were issued and many of them will be revoked.
The moral of the story is that if you’re looking to get a new title, don’t use a sketchy or illegitimate process to get one. Specifically, be cautious about using the services of a title company that says they can get you an actual title certificate. Many title companies will say, “Give us $600 and we’ll get you a title, no questions asked, don’t worry about it”, and if you’re looking for relief from a complex situation, this may sound great, when in reality it will probably cause you more trouble down the road. The problem with this quick fix is that oftentimes these companies do not disclose the process used to get your title. This means, that they could be using one of the fraudulent methods from above, like the case in Pennsylvania. Even if you were part of this unknowingly, you’re still going to be on the hook for it because the title will be in your name. You may have not gotten your hands dirty, but you’ll be the one who has to answer for it as the vehicle’s owner.
If you’re looking for help with a complex title situation, hiring a title company may be beneficial, but it’s crucial for you to thoroughly understand the process before agreeing. Make sure to read over any documents that the title company has you sign to avoid agreeing to something that you’re not comfortable with or sure about. The paperwork has your name on it, and if the title company uses a fraudulent practice, you don’t want to be left holding the bag while they make off with your money.
Title documents are very serious government documents that are heavily scrutinized by state DMV agencies and the DOJ. Remember that when you are applying for a vehicle title, you are swearing under the penalty of perjury that it is being done correctly. If it’s done incorrectly, it could get you into a lot of trouble or you could lose your vehicle.
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