What is the Title Washing Scam?

Title washing is used by car dealers for “washing” the vehicle’s bad history in order to conceal from the buyer that it had a salvage title because of severe accident, flood or other damage.

Title washing incidents reached their outbreak after hurricane Katrina when many car dealers got stuck with excess of flood-damaged vehicles.  Title washing is also applied to “clipped” vehicles with the back and front coming from different cars, or rather of what was left of them after a crash. So, a wreck is sold at the price of a good car.


Title washing 
scam results from the lack of a unified law regulating vehicle documentation in all the USA states. Many people who bought used cars are already car title washing scam victims.

So how is title washing done? A car that was totaled by the insurance company is assigned a salvage title, which is often called “branding”. Then it may be repaired and driven, but its resale value lowers, along with the possibility to sell it. As a result, the car is transferred to states that do not recognize the current title and is assigned a new, clean tile. Title washing erases the branding and the car’s value rises, and now it is easier to sell. Remember that title washed vehicles can be sold not only by car dealers but by individuals as well.

To avoid title washing perform VIN number check and get vehicle history report for revealing the truth about the car’s title. Once a car is assigned a salvage title, the information is added to the computer database of services providing vehicle history reports. These records remain in the there even when the car is transferred to other states.VIN number check protects not only from title washing but also from many other used car flaws, for example salvage title, odometer rollback or a flood damaged car.

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