A report by the vehicle history company, Carfax, showed an estimated 6,000 Oregon car owners are victims of odometer fraud.
The study found about 200,000 drivers become victims each year in the United States, costing those victims a collective $760 million a year in unexpected repairs and lost value.
Carfax said crooks are using odometer correction tools that are available online to digitally roll back a car's mileage. The company said the average rollback is at least 50,000 miles.
Bryce Campbell of Salem discovered he'd been a victim when he tried to trade in a BMW station wagon he bought online. The dealership ran a Carfax report and, based on maintenance records, discovered that the vehicle had 11,000 more miles than previously thought. Campbell said the dealership then had no interest in accepting the car as a trade-in because they couldn't determine how many miles the car actually had driven. Campbell said he's stuck with the car.
"I can't tell anybody how many miles it really has on it so I don't feel right selling it to somebody that way," said Campbell. "I decided in the end, I'm just going to drive this car until the wheels fall off."
Campbell said he's frustrated because the Carfax report he ordered 10 years ago before purchasing the car didn't show any rollback concern, but the report ran a couple of years ago included maintenance records from before he purchased the vehicle that exposed the odometer fraud.
A Carfax spokesman didn't have knowledge of that specific report, but said there are many variables that affect when and how data is reported to Carfax. In addition to ordering a Carfax report, the company recommends the following tips to detect odometer fraud:
Check that the car's wear and tear is consistent with the odometer reading.
Ask the seller for service records and note the mileage.
Buy from a trusted seller or dealer.
Be wary of unrealistic deals or overly aggressive sellers.
Have a trusted mechanic thoroughly inspect the vehicle.
Copyright 2014 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.
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