Vehicle information provider Carfax is warning used car buyers of what it says is a “rampant scam.”
Carfax says the number of cars with digital odometers that have been rolled back has increased 57 percent nationwide over the last four years.
“Odometer fraud is alive and well,” said Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax.
“Con men continually find ways to cheat the system, especially in a soft economy like this, and digital odometers are no exception.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says more than 450,000 cases of odometer rollbacks are reported annually at a cost to consumers of $1 billion.
Carfax says its data suggest that the number has probably increased, in part because digital odometers are easier to manipulate and evidence of tampering is harder to find.
Carfax recommends that buyers demand a vehicle history report, check to determine whether wear on such things as pedals and floor mats is consistent with the mileage that’s displayed, and to have a trusted mechanic check the vehicle before purchasing it.