Inflation Triggers New Rash of Odometer Rollback Fraud
First, during COVID, we saw a shortage of brand-new vehicles due to delays in manufacturing the necessary computer chips and electronics. Now, inflation is driving a new form of fraud involving much sought-after used vehicles.
US Customs and Border Patrol cautions about odometer rollbacks
This was not the first such bust, and it won't be the last. US Customs and Border Patrol-Protection (USBP) agents in Philadelphia intercepted a shipment of sophisticated odometer rollback devices earlier this month.
The shipment, which came from Hungary, had 29 of these devices, and the cargo was marked for delivery to addresses in at least ten different states.
These devices, which can be easily attached to a vehicle's instrument panel, are used to roll back even the newest of odometers digitally.
UCBP says evidence has been uncovered showing cars with 150, even 200K miles have been rolled back to as low as 60K miles. This allows them to be sold at much higher prices, but the mileage and wear and tear can put drivers at risk.
Used vehicles are still in very high demand due to lingering new vehicle shortages, and now prices are even higher due to rising inflation.
UCBP says these two factors are triggering another sweeping rash of odometer fraud. Even without shortages and inflation, UCBP says each year in the U.S. at least 450K vehicles are sold that have some form of odometer tampering, and repairs cost U.S. drivers over $1 billion annually.
Officials say one of the best ways to guard against odometer fraud is to have a trusted mechanic examine the vehicle, they can usually tell if the wear and tear is consistent with the mileage.
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