DESPITE tremendous advances in vehicle security, the criminal element still manages to get away with a staggering amount of loot and makes money out of it.
Car cloning is just one of the cons that is taking place at the moment. This is the equivalent of identity fraud - giving a stolen vehicle a new identity copied from a similar vehicle already on the road.
The criminal disguises the unique 17digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the stolen car and uses a stolen V5/logbook to try to legitimise its identity, fooling innocent buyers into parting with their money.
And this is not rare because a major police operation which took place recently uncovered an alleged scam worth £2 million involving 180 vehicles.
Cloning has been gaining in momentum over the years and is now so rife that it is up to the buyer to be extra vigilant.
Car data specialists CAP HPI conduct thousands of vehicle checks every year and Neil Hodson, deputy managing director said: "Police recovered an Aston Martin Vantage worth Â£38,000 and an Audi Q7 worth Â£16,000, showing the range of prices and just how much consumers have to lose on buying a clone.
"But it's not just premium cars that are at risk from cloning. Every used car buyer need to be aware of the very real threat of cloning. Anyone who buys a clone stands to lose the car and their money, if it's revealed to be stolen and returned to the rightful owner by the police."
Buyers should always make sure they view the car at the registered keepers address (as shown on the V5/logbook).
It is also wise to know the car's market value. If a buyer is paying less than 70 per cent of the market price for a vehicle, they need to be on their guard.
Another golden rule is never pay for the car in cash, particularly if the car is costing more than £3,000.
It is also vital to check the vehicle's V5/logbook. Stolen V5 documents are still being used to accompany cloned vehicles.
It is also best to purchase a vehicle check. The HPI Check is the only vehicle history check to include clone cover within its guarantee, making it the vital protection for consumers looking to save themselves from an expensive mistake.
But the sad point of it all is that many buyers are just too trusting and buy a car on face value, which could cost them dear.