Thursday, November 18, 2010

Preventing Car Title Fraud


In Ohio, a car title must be completed by the seller and MUST BE SIGNED IN FRONT OF A NOTARY PUBLIC.  If you sign the title before you are in front of a notary, the title is VOID and you will have to go to the BMV to get a duplicate title.  In addition, you will have to get a replacement title if you cross out, X out, or attempt to erase or write over the top of other writing.  The title is immediately invalid if any of the above occurs.

The seller must complete and state the true sale price.  Only a true gift may be shown as "GIFT" or "$0".  If the BMV chooses to audit your title and discover that the car was not a true gift, you may face the criminal charge of FALSIFICATION, a 1st degree misdemeanor punishable by 180 days in jail and a $1000 fine.

You must complete the current mileage, seller's name and address, city, state, and zipcode; buyer's name and their home address including city, state and zipcode.

As the buyer you must obtain a new Ohio title within 30 days or you will face a fine when you finally do title the vehicle.

As the seller, if you leave the buyer's name blank, you are subject criminal prosecution.  The buyer who takes a blank title and re-sells the vehicle without first obtaining a title in their own name is guilty of title-hopping a 2nd degree misdemeanor, punishable by 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.

As a seller of a vehicle, I highly recommend that you make a photographic copy of the completed and notarized title in the event that the buyer is involved in an auto accident before they title the vehicle in their own name.  If the buyer does have an accident, law enforcement will be paying you a visit especially if the buyer failed to show proof of insurance.  It will be your burden to prove that you are no longer the legal owner of the vehicle.

Finally, in the State of Ohio, you must remove your license plates from the vehicle.  They stay with the seller, not the vehicle.

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