Vehicle Registration Scam in South Florida
Identity theft no longer involves just financial hardship, it can get your driver’s license suspended too!
Here is a twist to identity theft: A fraudster who has stolen your identity can get a vehicle titled in your name, get issued a license plate and registration, and drive the vehicle around for at least a month, unbeknownst to you. If the scammer bothers to pay the initial car insurance
payment, they can then drive the car for longer.
This situation exposes the victim to:
Liability in the event of an accident – since the vehicle is titled and registered to the victim.
Toll violations – the scammer will drive the vehicle willy-nilly through any and all tolls, just because they can.
Driver’s license suspension. Your license getting suspended is ultimately a race between the mounting toll violations and the car insurance company sending a driver license suspension notice for lack of insurance.
If the scammer changes the address on the registration so that the victim does not receive court notices, the mounting traffic court cases on toll violations could eventually result in a bench warrant issued for the victim.
Below is a timeline of an actual case:
Victim had a van titled, tagged, and registered in their name, as evidenced by a database report that our Grey Ghost investigators ran.
They were out of the country when this transaction took place on August 30.
The only reason they found out about the transaction, was because they received an after-market warranty advertisement in the mail for a van they did not own.
Our Miami private investigators ran their name through a database and found the van’s information.
The victim immediately filed a police report. This took place on September 13.
On November 11, the police detective assigned told the victim they do not handle these types of cases and that they should go to the Florida Dept of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMV) to clear her impending driver license suspension (for lack of insurance).
That same day they were able to clear the pending driver license suspension, and was given the proper complaint forms to file with the Motor Vehicle Fraud unit in Tallahassee, Fl.
There was a delay somewhere, and the victim received another suspension order set to suspend their driver license on December 7th.
They went back to the DMV in person, and they told her they could not clear her license until she files a complaint with the Motor Vehicle Fraud unit, so they can remove the vehicle from her name.
On November 29, they filed a complaint with the Motor Vehicle Fraud Unit.
On December 7th, the victim’s license was suspended. It stayed suspended until December 14th, after countless phone calls from our Miami private investigators.
The vehicle was removed from the victims record, but no arrests were made and the van was never found.
As you can see this process can be extremely stressful to a victim. Our advice is to pay close attention to anything suspicious that you receive in the mail and always follow up. Don’t dismiss things as ‘mistakes’ or ‘unimportant’. Do your research because the sooner you find an issue like this, to sooner you can solve it without letting it spiral out of control. Also, be advised that currently, the State of Florida does not mail out any notices to the public when a vehicle is registered in their name. However, private companies have access to this information, and will mail people ads for extended warranties or insurance offers. If you begin to receive ads for extended warranties on a vehicle you do not own, you may have become a victim of this scam. If you feel you have become a victim of this scam, or if you want to get a baseline search of property titled in your name, we can help. Our asset searches will show everything that has been registered to you.