Homing in on the

cloners

SOME years ago I took part in an interesting exercise with a police force.

I was challenged to get away with a car and try to hide it from the long arm of the law.

Simple on the face of it but the car was fitted with a Tracker device and within minutes a police patrol car, working in conjunction with a helicopter homed in and pinpointed the car.

The exercise proved that although the Tracker will not stop your car being stolen it will do its utmost to aid its recovery.

And Tracker has maintained its edge over the criminal world with a staggering 95 per cent of stolen vehicles fitted with this homing device being successfully located and recovered.

However less than 50 per cent of all cars stolen in the UK are ever reunited with their legitimate owners and the misery is passed on because the chance is that they have been cloned.

Car cloning is the vehicle equivalent of identity fraud - criminals steal a car and give it a new identity copied from a similar make and model vehicle already on the road.

The criminal alters the unique 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the stolen car and in many cases, will even use a stolen V5/logbook to try to legitimise its identity.

A vehicle with a cloned identity is all the more difficult for the police to identify and, in turn, easier for the thief to sell on.

Two weeks ago, a West Midlands resident had his Range Rover Sport stolen from outside his house but this one was fitted with a Tracker.Less than two hours after the unit was activated, the police successfully located and recovered his vehicle.

Whilst thankfully the vehicle was undamaged, it had already been cloned.

The criminals had used false number plates and a false matching VIN to hide its true identity and it was all set to have been sold on and never seen again.

Fraudsters use car cloning to sell a stolen vehicle for a quick profit, so buyers should look out for a great looking car at a bargain price.

Buyers should always check the car's market value and avoid anything that's being offered for less than 70 per cent of that price. No legitimate seller will want to lose money on a sale.

Buyers should also never pay cash only for a vehicle, particularly if they are paying more than £3,000. Most crooks would rather walk away from a sale than take a payment that can be traced back to them.

The Tracker organisation continues to work with police across the UK to close the net on thieves and reunite motorists with their stolen cars, regardless of how much they cost.

Its award winning stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) systems work like an electronic homing device with a covert transmitter hidden in one of several dozen places around the vehicle. There is no visible aerial, so the thief won't even know it's there.

Unlike other SVR devices, Tracker's technology can locate stolen vehicles anywhere, even when they are hidden in a garage or shipping container.

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