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Drivers: Beware These Odometer Rollback Scams

Shopping for a new ride? Chances are you’re thinking used rather than new. But there are new reports that odometer fraud is surging – up 60% in the last four years. If you thought rolling back a car’s odometer to make it appear newer was a movie myth, you thought wrong. NBC News senior investigative producer Jim Popkin reports that widespread odometer fraud has cost drivers thousands in parts and repairs in states around the country.

But car experts say that odometer fraud is one of the more preventable cons out there. All you have to do is ask to see a car’s history and recorded mileage before making a purchase. This simple step will greatly reduce your chances of being ripped off, they say.

Phil Reed of Edmunds.comhas two more tips: If you’re buying a car from a private party, ask whether they have the title and make sure that it’s a clear title before you buy. Also, check the vehicle’s history report at CARFAX.com before you even drive it, if possible. All you need is the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which can typically be found on the windshield. The VIN is equal to the car’s DNA, Reed says. It is from this that you will unlock a world of information about its past – and whether you want to get in the driver’s seat.