Today’s criminals are quick to overcome sophisticated security systems, and their means of disposal are tried and tested, with stolen cars being sold on to unsuspecting buyers disguised by a cloned identity.
Car cloning is the vehicle equivalent of identity fraud, with criminals stealing a car and giving it a new identity copied from a similar make and model already on the road. The criminal alters the unique 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the stolen car and in many cases, will invariably use a stolen V5/logbook to try to legitimise its identity.
A vehicle with a cloned identity is more difficult for the police to identify, making it easier for the thief to sell on.
However, stolen vehicle recovery devices that combine VHF, GSP and GSM technology offer owners the greatest chance of their assets being located and recovered. Last week a Metropolitan Police patrol car equipped with recovery technology tracked and recovered a fully loaded 2013 Land Rover Discovery in Carshalton that was already on false plates, even though it had only been stolen a couple of hours earlier.
Andy Barrs, head of police liaison at TRACKER, stolen vehicle recovery experts, said, ‘We will probably never know what the thieves intended to do with the car, but cloning is very likely to have been their motive. The next step would have been for the thieves to replace the existing VIN identification marks and the chassis plate. It’s not difficult if you have the know-how and the contacts to produce a cloned car.’
He continued, ‘Fitting a tracking device is one of the few means by which the police can still identify cloned cars, in fact over 95% of stolen vehicles fitted with a TRACKER unit are successfully located and recovered.’
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