AUSTIN (KXAN) — A North Texas man has been arrested, accused of rolling back the odometers on hundreds of vehicles prior to selling them to customers.
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles says the suspect was arrested in Grand Prairie on July 6 following a three-year investigation. A spokesperson for the TxDMV says the affected vehicles may have been purchased in private sales as well as dealerships. While the primary focus area is Dallas-Fort Worth, the vehicles can wind up anywhere once they’re sold.
When an odometer is rolled back, customers may end up paying hundreds or thousands of dollars more for the vehicle than what it is worth.
The TxDMV says they will contact victims whose vehicles may have had their odometers tampered with, so their title records can be updated.
If you’re in the market for a used car, here are some tips to protect yourself from being a victim of odometer fraud:
- Examine the interior and exterior of the vehicle carefully: Look for clues that might indicate the vehicle has higher mileage such as wear on the tires, seats, seat belts, carpeting and other interior items.
- Write down the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): Each vehicle has a unique VIN which serves as the car’s fingerprint. You can find the VIN by looking from outside at the lower portion of the window on the driver’s side.
- Obtain a vehicle inspection report: Use the VIN to obtain a free vehicle inspection report from http://www.mytxcar.org. The report shows vehicle’s safety and emissions testing history from DPS and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. If the report shows a decrease in mileage, the odometer may have been rolled back.
- Check vehicle history reports: Use the VIN to purchase a vehicle history report from a third-party provider such as CARFAX or AutoCheck. Make sure the report shows a steady increase in mileage, and look for any “flags” which may indicate problems.
- Do a Title Check: Use the VIN to do a Title Check on the vehicle which shows the vehicle’s title history, including odometer information.