Odometer fraud is the disconnection, resetting, or alteration of a vehicle's odometer with the intent to change the number of miles indicated.
NHTSA estimates that more than 450,000 vehicles are sold each year with false odometer readings. This crime costs American car buyers more than $1 billion annually.
We want consumers to know how to spot odometer fraud, how to protect against it, and who to contact if you think you're a victim of this illegal behavior.
Protecting Against Odometer Fraud
WHO WE ARE
The Office of Odometer Fraud Investigations consists of four regional offices: Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, and Western. Each office is staffed with a criminal investigator and administrative support. The office is tasked with reducing the cost of vehicle ownership by deterring odometer fraud according to Federal laws and requirements.
HOW TO PROTECT AGAINST ODOMETER FRAUD
It can be difficult, but not impossible, to detect whether a vehicle's odometer has been altered. The following is a list of tips to help used car buyers detect odometer fraud:
||the increased cost consumers
pay to purchase passenger vehicles
with rolled-back odometers
HOW TO CONTACT US
Do you need to file an odometer fraud case with your dealership? Contact NHTSA's Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236 (TTY for individuals with hearing impairments: 800-424-9153).
Do you need to file an individual odometer fraud case? Contact your State enforcement agency.
You may also contact the Office of Odometer Fraud Investigations at the following address:
Office of Odometer Fraud Investigations,
U.S. Department of Transportation / NHTSA,
Room W55-301, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE.,
Washington, DC, 20590
Laws and Regulations
ODOMETER FRAUD LAWS
Committing odometer fraud is a crime. The Federal Government passed a law that requires a written disclosure of the mileage registered on an odometer be provided on the title by the seller to the purchaser when the ownership of a vehicle is transferred.
If the odometer mileage is incorrect, the law requires a statement to that effect to be furnished on the title to the buyer. However, vehicles 10 years old and older are exempt from the written disclosure requirements.
Digital odometers that have been tampered with are even harder to detect than traditional mechanical odometers since they have no visible moving parts. A vehicle's condition and a detailed history report are the best clues a buyer has for determining whether clocking has occurred.
NHTSA is dedicated to promoting the safe use and manufacture of vehicle equipment
Members of the Office of Odometer Fraud Investigations work to increase public awareness through informative presentations and speeches about the office, its programs, and its relationship with other agencies regarding odometer fraud. These presentations are given to affected groups, including industry members, consumer advocates, and Federal, State, and local agencies. The Office of Odometer Fraud Investigations also works to protect consumers from odometer fraud by specifically assisting consumers with criminal investigations, consumer outreach programs, and public awareness:
1. Criminal Investigations: Each office conducts odometer fraud investigations for criminal prosecution by the U.S. Department of Justice. Our investigators also assist State agencies that enforce odometer laws and regulations.
Office investigations resulted in more than 240 criminal convictions in more than 30 States. Prison sentences ranged from one month to eight years, criminal fines totaled more than $2.8 million, and court-ordered restitutions totaled more than $10 million.
2. Consumer Outreach Programs: This program provides assistance to consumers who suspect that they have been victimized by odometer fraud and responds to general inquiries and specific questions related to odometer fraud violations.
Consumers are provided with information on odometer laws and odometer disclosure requirements if they suspect fraudulent odometer tampering. Consumers are strongly advised to consult a private attorney to determine their legal rights and remedies in the matter.
Although we do not have the authority to pursue claims on behalf of consumers, we appreciate any information we receive that may aid our overall law enforcement efforts.
3. Federal/State Partnership: This partnership helps cultivate States' interest in odometer enforcement by providing the following: