Someone Sold Me A Car Then Reported It Stolen

Someone Sold Me a Car Then Reported It Stolen

In a shocking turn of events, you may find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having purchased a vehicle only to discover that it has been reported stolen. This can be a highly distressing and confusing experience, leaving you wondering what your rights are and how to proceed. This article aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the issue, including its definition, types, differences, ease of occurrence, process, advantages, disadvantages, and how to handle such a situation.


When someone sells you a car and subsequently reports it stolen, it is referred to as "selling a stolen car." This fraudulent act involves the seller misrepresenting the ownership of the vehicle and transferring it to an unsuspecting buyer. The seller may have obtained the car through theft, fraud, or other illegal means.


There are two main types of stolen cars:

  • True Stolen Cars: These vehicles have been taken without the owner’s knowledge or consent, typically through theft or robbery.
  • Fraudulently Obtained Cars: These vehicles have been acquired through fraudulent means, such as forged documents or false pretenses.


The primary difference between true stolen cars and fraudulently obtained cars lies in the seller’s intent. In the case of true stolen cars, the seller is aware that the vehicle is stolen and intends to deceive the buyer. With fraudulently obtained cars, the seller may not be aware of the true ownership status and may genuinely believe they have the right to sell the vehicle.

Ease of Occurrence

Unfortunately, selling stolen cars is a relatively common occurrence. Unscrupulous individuals may target unsuspecting buyers through online marketplaces, classified ads, or even dealerships. It is essential to be vigilant and take precautions to avoid becoming a victim of this type of fraud.


If you have purchased a car that has been reported stolen, the process can be complex and time-consuming. Here is a general outline of the steps involved:

  1. Contact the Police: Report the incident to the police immediately and provide them with all relevant information, including the vehicle’s details, the seller’s information, and any documentation you have.
  2. File an Insurance Claim: If you have purchased insurance for the vehicle, file a claim with your insurance company. They may be able to assist you in recovering the vehicle or obtaining compensation.
  3. Contact the DMV: Notify the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) about the situation. They can place a flag on the vehicle’s title, preventing it from being sold or registered again.
  4. Hire an Attorney: Consider hiring an attorney who specializes in stolen vehicle cases. They can guide you through the legal process and represent your interests.


There are few, if any, advantages to purchasing a stolen car. You may face legal consequences, financial losses, and the potential loss of the vehicle.


The disadvantages of purchasing a stolen car are significant:

  • Legal Consequences: You could be charged with possession of stolen property, which is a serious crime.
  • Financial Losses: You may lose the money you paid for the car, as well as any expenses incurred in its maintenance or repair.
  • Loss of the Vehicle: The rightful owner has the legal right to reclaim their stolen vehicle, even if you purchased it in good faith.

How to Avoid Purchasing a Stolen Car

To avoid becoming a victim of this type of fraud, it is crucial to take the following precautions:

  • Verify the Seller’s Identity: Request identification from the seller and verify their address and contact information.
  • Check the Vehicle’s History: Obtain a vehicle history report from a reputable source to check for any red flags, such as previous theft reports or title issues.
  • Inspect the Vehicle: Thoroughly inspect the vehicle for any signs of tampering, such as mismatched VIN numbers or altered documents.
  • Use a Secure Payment Method: Avoid using cash or money orders. Opt for secure payment methods, such as bank transfers or certified checks.
  • Trust Your Instincts: If something about the transaction feels suspicious, trust your instincts and walk away.

What to Do If You Suspect You’ve Purchased a Stolen Car

If you suspect that you have purchased a stolen car, it is imperative to act quickly:

  • Contact the Police: Report the incident to the police immediately.
  • Gather Evidence: Collect any documentation related to the purchase, including the bill of sale, title, and any communication with the seller.
  • Secure the Vehicle: Park the vehicle in a safe location and avoid driving it until the situation is resolved.
  • Contact the Seller: Attempt to contact the seller and confront them with your suspicions.


Purchasing a stolen car can be a devastating experience. By understanding the definition, types, differences, and process involved, you can better protect yourself from becoming a victim of this type of fraud. Always exercise caution when purchasing a vehicle, and do not hesitate to contact the authorities if you suspect that the car may have been stolen.


Q: What should I do if I have purchased a stolen car and the seller has disappeared?

A: Contact the police immediately and provide them with all the information you have. They will investigate the matter and attempt to locate the seller.

Q: Can I get my money back if I purchased a stolen car?

A: It is possible to recover your money if you purchased a stolen car, but it can be a complex and time-consuming process. You may need to file a lawsuit against the seller or pursue a claim with your insurance company.

Q: What are the penalties for selling a stolen car?

A: The penalties for selling a stolen car vary depending on the jurisdiction. In most cases, it is considered a felony and can result in imprisonment, fines, and other legal consequences.

Closing Statement

Purchasing a stolen car is a serious matter that can have significant legal and financial implications. By being aware of the risks and taking the necessary precautions, you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of this type of fraud.


The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. It is recommended to consult with an attorney for specific legal guidance related to stolen vehicles.