I’m continuing the car theme this week by sharing a useful Mexican government operated website that will help you determine if the used car you’re thinking of buying is actually stolen.
You might be asking yourself, do people really steal cars and then sell them to unsuspecting people? Yep, they sure do.
In most cases, the buyer only discovers that the car is stolen when they attempt to register it — or they get arrested at a police checkpoint.
If you ever find yourself in the second scenario, I’m sure that once you explain to the officers that you bought it from a stranger and you didn’t know it was stolen, they’ll let you go. Cops always believe that one–not.
Fortunately, this site might help you avoid that fate:
Using the Site
Since the web site is in Spanish and many of my readers only speak English, I decided to include some instructions.
This is for the license plate number (no spaces or dashes). In experimenting with this site, I found that the majority of the license plate numbers that I checked were not in the system; however, when I check the vehicle identification number (Section 2) or the REPUVE number (Section 3), I was able to locate the information.
This is for the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). That is a 17 character alphanumeric code that is stamped somewhere on the vehicle. Always check the VIN against the paperwork presented when buying a vehicle.
In my last article, I wrote about Mexico’s program (REPUVE) to enter every vehicle into a national database and tag it with an RFID tag. The RFID tag is incorporated in a blue sticker that is placed on the windshield. If the car you’re buying has this sticker, you can check the number on the bottom.
It is unlikely that you’re going to have this number. It’s an 8 character alphanumeric number assigned to the vehicle when it’s entered into the REPUVE system.
If the vehicle is not found in the system at all, you’ll get this message:
This is a common response when checking the vehicle by tag number, even if it’s in the system.
If the vehicle’s information has been entered into the REPUVE system, it will look something like this:
At the bottom of the report, you will receive a message advising you if the vehicle is reported stolen. If it’s not, it should look something like this:
Let’s Wrap This Up
This site is a useful tool to help you avoid buying a stolen car; however, it’s certainly not foolproof. Besides, there are lots of other scams to look out for that are directed at potential used car buyers. I’ll be covering some of the more common ones in a future article.