Title Fraud Remains Easy To Do - Burdge quoted in newspaper

Attorney Ron Burdge was quoted in the Sunday edition of The Gazette in a news story dealing with motor vehicle title fraud, "Washing the title remains relatively easy for anyone with thievery in their heart."

Motor vehicle "title washing" is the term car dealers use to describe how they get rid of ("wash") the state-law-mandatory brand off of a car title. Many states have laws that require a motor vehicle's legal title to be "branded" with a permanent word or phrase that describes something that happened to the vehicle, such as being totalled out in an accident, salvaged, a flood vehicle, a lemon law buy back, etc.

Title washing occurs when a car dealer who wants to remove that brand, illegally, simply retitles the vehicle in a state that does not have a branding law that exactly matches up with the original state's law. Since it doesn't, the brand doesn't exist and the title clerk in the new state issues a clean title with no brand on it at all. Then it looks like the vehicle never had any problem at all in its history - making it worth thousands of dollars more than a branded title vehicle. A very profitable kind of fraud is title washing.

Reporting on a Montana truck owner who found out that their truck was a salvage vehicle that had been wrecked, the story explains how the truck went through a series of quick dealer-to-dealer sales - a frequent sign that the dealers see something they don't want to hold on to. The owner is now stuck making payments of $338 on a truck that isn't worth a fraction of the original selling price.

It's a good explanation of how a little time and caution can help avoid being a victim, but not when the thieves are really good at what they are doing - and many of them are.

Even if the title shows nothing, and a CarFax or AutoCheck or a search of the federal wrecked car database at www.nmvtis.gov shows nothing, there are some tell-tale ways to spot a wrecked-and-repaired car before you buy it. Here's a link to our video tips on how to spot a wrecked car before you buy it.

Burdge Law Office
Because life's too short to drive a wrecked car